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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Trade Commissioner Hogan and MEPs warn USA not to overreact to Digital Tax, but pursue Dialogue

EU Trade Commissioner Hogan and MEPs warn USA not to overreact to Digital Tax, but pursue Dialogue

Written by ACM
Thursday, 19 December 2019

*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- In the 1st ever Debate in EU Parliament on US possible reactions to Digital Tax, New EU Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan from Ireland, warned USA not to overreact, but Better pursue Dialogue through OECD and/or other ways.      



- "it would be a matter of significant concern to the (EU) Commission  if the US should decide to introduce tariffs against the EU", in an "Unilateral" move, "for the 1st Time" in History,

- Similar methods "have previously been used only in response to unfair trading practices in China’s non-market economy in order to justify US tariffs against China", Hogan pointed out.

- But, here, on the Contrary, it's about "ensuring that Digital Companies pay their Fair Share of Taxes", he stressed. Already since 2018, EU Commission had "made 2 Proposals" : (A) "a Short-term Target", with "Digital Services Taxation", and (B) "a Long-term Comprehensive Solution", by "adjusting the Definition of a Permanent Establishment... to include Digital ...for Corporation tax", he Reminded. EU Parliament "supported the Digital ServicesTax", "Pending a Comprehensive Solution", he added. Because there are "increasing pressures ... faced by Member States to act, given the risk that their Corporate tax base is being Eroded significantly over Time and the perceived Unfairness of the situation", he explained.

AnOther Possibilty is to "accelerate Discussions at the OECD level to find a Global Solution on taxation issues, including a global Digital service taxation"

- But, Meanwhile, "unfortunately", the EU "Council did Not Find Agreement....on the Beginning of 2019", so that "                            "France and some other Member States then, proceeded to adopt or prepare National Digital service Taxes".

=> Then, "the USA started an ... Investigation on July 2019", which "is the 1st US investigation into a digital service tax, despite France being Neither the 1st, Nor the Only country that has adopted it".

- However, on August 2019, "on the margins of a G7 meeting in Biarritz", Presidents Trump and Macron Agreed "that France would continue levying the tax and would Reimburse companies if subsequently there was a difference between the French tax and the OECD Global solution'.

- But, "Despite that", "the US continued with its investigation with a negative determination on 2 December 2019, claiming that France’s digital service tax is unreasonable, discriminatory and burdens or restricts US commerce" : "This ...opens the route for Unilateral Measures, under US Law".

>>> But, the EU "Commission calls upon the US Not to break its obligations under international Law.... President von der Leyen made clear that the EU will Act and React as One, Against any                                          Unilateral measures outside the multilateral trading system. The EU will collectively Defend a Member State, If a trading Partner takes Unilateral trade Measures Against it !", he Warned.

- "It would be the 1st time that the US has used this instrument Against the EU, since the WTO was founded in 1995" ,

while, on the Contrary, "the US Statute envisages further Discussions as an option"... "So, we in the (EU) Commission will Keep on Pushing for these Discussions", Hogan concluded Today.


+ In the subsequent Debate, French MEP Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, Speaking on behalf of the Groupe "ReNew", Criticised a "World Trade in "Troubled Waters", and Pleaded for "any Balanced World Trade Based into Rules".

- But, in Fact, we (EU) Faced Taxes on Aluminium and Steel, our Agriculture producers are under Customs, on the occasion of the Affair "Airus/Boeing", and Nowadays, there is also a Threat for Various "Heavy" measures Against Trade, she Criticized.

- It's Not True that this Digital Tax would be "Discriminatory". It only represents a Juste Remuneration for Digital services, she found.

=> EU searches a Negociated Solution inside the OECD, and we Support that. We don't want any Trade War. More Tensions will only provoke more Losers. We want Better Dialogue !", she concluded.=

+ "And EU Solidarity !", added also Irish ChristianDemocrat MEP Maria Walsh.







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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?

CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...


Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..


"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock


"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"


PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.


Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...


2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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