The Commission Work Programme 2016 rightly defines as an important objective the elimination of rampant tax evasion and avoidance, as well as aggressive tax planning by multinational corporations. Measures that, in a transparent and consistent manner, seek to attain this goal in the context of a level playing field are desirable. A very serious problem arises however when the measures contemplated go beyond the stated objective and prepare the ground for tax harmonisation. This goes against the interest of peripheral regions and islands having limited endowments. When adopting European regulations they have among others, removed protective trade barriers, adopted consumption taxes that follow continental models, phased out state aid, adopted stringent budgetary rules, abandoned exchange rate autonomy. This has severely curtailed their competitivity. The only element that remains for them to safeguard it is fair tax competition. The resolution on the Commission Work Programme for 2016, endorses a mandatory common consolidated tax base. In current circumstances, these proposals amount to a first substantial step towards harmonisation. They are hugely detrimental to the development prospects of islands and regions at the periphery of the Union. I cannot approve them.
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