This vote provided another opportunity to assert that current exemptions on VAT rates allowed to national economies for items such as food or health products should not be removed, unless it is with the express and free assent of the national government involved. VAT is a tax which proportionately burdens lower income earners more than it does higher income ones. Exemptions from it, especially those granted for social reasons, should be safeguarded. The effects of the 2008 recession, still with us, have been different across member states. Only in one area has the negative impact been similar everywhere: lower income citizens and families have been the most affected. Worse: while this happened, the strong and the wealthy were finding very good ways to avoid and evade other non-consumption taxes that they were subject to. No matter what the original reason was for opt-outs from uniform VAT levels across members states, their removal now should be considered exclusively on their own merits, seen from a social perspective. The final decision should be left to national governments. The case against the adoption of a comprehensive minimum rate of VAT across the board in the EU remains valid and extremely strong.

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