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2004-06-02

Report on building a political Europe 

A commission of senior politicians headed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn has produced a report on building a political Europe, apparently on request by Romano Prodi. Warning! This .pdf is 112 pages long (sigh). I found this here, via the anti-federalist think-tank EURSOC who are of course alarmed about the whole thing.

There is a lot of dynamite in this report, even on quick inspection. Take for example:

Proposal 33: create the first European tax, which could take the form of a
supplementary company tax.


That European corporate tax is proposed to be 0.3% initially, and should offer a first step towards corporate tax harmonisation:

It would make it possible to limit tax competition between Member States, which chiefly centres on this tax.

However, the authors emphasise that they do not include corporate tax under the notion of "unfair tax schemes", which is the topic of Proposal 6:

But, paradoxically, the main source of competition is Europe itself: the European
countries have engaged in fierce competition to attract international investment to
their territory. They have entered into a process of bidding down tax and welfare
requirements, culminating in the development of unfair tax competition in the form of
tax havens for foreign investors.

Proposal 6: Introduce a legal ban on unfair tax schemes in Europe.


And on the limits of the European Union, page 109:

If the Union is to exist at that time(in 50 years time, GN), account must be taken of the area in which European (sic) exercises its historical responsibility — an area which extends over the entire territory which has been the cradle of our civilisation.
So the Union's vocation is to group together all territories which, from the northern ice to the southern sand, surround the Mediterranean shores — a Mediterranean which we should begin thinking of as our own sea.


And page 112:

Proposal 50: draw the territory of the Union in concentric groupings: a politically closely integrated core open to all; a grouping close to the existing European Union, preparing to enlarge; a wider group of affiliated countries who may one day join, based on economic, financial and social solidarity.

The summary of all 50 proposals is on pp.21-25.

My own tentative position is that I am for political union in such a sense, but also for fair economic competition among EU member countries.


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