Thursday 12 April 2012

Unity Divided

EC tax review 2012/3 - Prof. Dr. H.A. Kogels 

One of the EU symbols on the website of the European Union is the motto ‘unity in diversity’.1 This motto, coming first into use in 2000, is said to signify how Europeans have come together, in the form of the EU, to work for peace and prosperity, while at the same time being enriched by the continent’s many different cultures, traditions and languages. However, since the shock wave of the great mortgage crisis in the USA (2007) reached the financial sector in Europe, the governments of many EU Member States, notably those in the Euro-area, are facing increasing budget deficits and government debts as a result of their efforts to restrict the damage of the financial and economic crises. The difficult search for a political road map for the EU to overcome these gigantic problems shows the dissensionamong the Member States concerned. The unity in diversity has moved into a unity divided.2 If the EU succeeds in rescuing the euro-area through a more robust budget discipline of its Member States, one may expect that Member States will not be eager to further restrict their fiscal autonomy by accepting a higher level of tax harmonization.

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