German finance ministry says talk of euro region tax misleading

Bloomberg — A magazine report suggesting the euro region could levy its own taxes soon is misleading as it fails to consider that such a move would require European Union treaty changes, the German Finance Ministry said.

Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is ready to forgo German tax receipts to a euro-region budget and is open to the idea of a euro-region finance minister levying a “euro tax.”

“The long-term creation of a separate fiscal capacity for the euro area is a proposal from the Five Presidents Report on the further development of the EU,” a finance ministry spokeswoman said by e-mail, commenting on condition of anonymity, in line with policy. “Discussions about this are only just starting.”

The report by the chiefs of five top EU bodies is divided into medium-term measures by 2017 that don’t require amendments and long-term goals through 2025, which include a fiscal capacity for the euro area. The ministry’s comment suggests that any hope for faster progress could be misplaced.

“Individual elements that are under discussion have to be seen in the overall context and require treaty amendments,” the spokeswoman said. “Talk of a euro tax in this regard is completely misleading.”

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU President Donald Tusk, European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, laid out a potential map for stronger European integration in the Five Presidents Report, published last month.