Following a meeting of the EU’s finance ministers in Brussels today in which plans have been mooted for a shift from labour to other forms of taxation, GUE/NGL co-president Martin Schirdewan (Die Linke, Germany) has urged the Eurogroup to end the European Semester once and for all, and warned against the move towards regressive taxation on the environment:
“The Eurogroup has until now acted as a rubber stamp to the Commission’s aggressive austerity agenda.”
“As outlined in a recent study I published, the Commission has made more than 300 demands on member states to raise the pension age, privatise healthcare and suppress wage growth since the hardening of the debt and deficit rules in 2011,” he argued.
“Eurozone finance ministers need to commit to breaking the stranglehold of the Stability and Growth Pact once and for all.”
“At a moment when climate change is posing an existential threat to the planet and to the future of human civilisation itself, we need to radically transform our economies and societies. Such a transformation requires a major, coordinated and sustained public investment effort, something that is impossible within the constraints imposed by the fiscal rules.”
Commenting on the potential shift from labour to environmental taxation, the German MEP said:
“I find the ideas proposed by the Commission on shifting from progressive to regressive taxes to be alarming. Taxation needs to be fair and progressive, and act as a means to redistribute wealth from the top to the bottom in an era of growing inequality.
“Any new environmental taxes need to pass two tests: that they will effectively reduce carbon emissions and that they won’t penalise those on lower incomes,” he added.