Why the EU is putting pressure on Switzerland

The EU’s harrassment of Switzerland covered here and here, because it refuses to stop offering low personal and business tax rates, is put into context today with the news Brussels is dusting off old plans to introduce a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) across member states.

Not content with its objective of directly charging VAT on our purchases instead of letting member states collect the money and pass it on to Brussels, the EU now wants to set a common minimum rate of corporation tax to prevent countries such as Ireland setting competitive rates to attract business to its shores.

The pressure being applied to Switzerland is a concerted effort by the EU to eradicate a ‘local’ tax competitor that could host companies desperate to avoid the EU’s elevated minimum tax rates in a geographically convenient location. The EU measure would spark a stampede of businesses to the cantons if the last democracy in western Europe doesn’t play ball.  It’s a high stakes game worth billions of Euros.

The EU is a customs union with no interest in free trade or competition.  A more accurate description for it would be a bullying, anti democratic tax union. The UK has no place being part of this destructive bureaucratic cabal. Ironically, on the day this news has come out the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, is saying the province’s corporation tax rate should be cut from 28% to attract business to the country – exactly what the EU is trying to put a stop to.  Yet in another breath he will be telling us how beneficial our EU membership is.  It is rank hypcorisy.

No doubt the proposal, which is being met with the usual initial resistance from France and Germany before being accepted by them wholesale after a few concessions, will have senior Conservative politicians sucking on their teeth, planting Eurosceptic sentiments with unthinking cut and paste merchants in the media and expressing anger at this unacceptable interference in British affairs – before meekly surrendering all competence to Brussels and declaring there was no alternative.

Costs will be driven up and consumers will find themselves paying more for goods and services, but the mass sleepwalk will continue as our media tows the party line in return for ‘access’ and fails the public by not exposing the real state of affairs that would have the people in rebellious mood.

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9 Responses to “Why the EU is putting pressure on Switzerland”


  1. 1 WitteringWitney 14/02/2011 at 10:47 am

    This entire ‘EU problem’ is taxing my brain!

    Apologies for what may appear a fatuous comment AM, but you have summed up this matter admirably. Your fourth paragraph is so totally true and has always been the case where ‘Conservative Eursceptics’ are concerned.

    As for the MSM, the least said the better!

  2. 2 John E Payne 14/02/2011 at 11:07 am

    Excellent report. The resistance Switzerland is showing is wonderful. They should have the backing of the British Government, and the Conservatives should take a leaf out of their book. My suggestion to Dave is to withdraw from the EU and open up Britain as the Tax haven of Europe.

  3. 3 Katabasis 14/02/2011 at 11:58 am

    Great piece AM, as usual.

    What particularly angers me about these moves is how “surprised” certain people act when the EU finally decides to action them.

  4. 4 Barry 14/02/2011 at 12:07 pm

    The Euractiv article illustrates the mental prison member state Governments have happily locked themselves and us into.

    Ireland’s corporation tax rate issue is combated by other member states complaining to Brussels about it. Why aren’t they deciding instead to lower their own rates in competition or find other means to reduce the tax burden on the customers of companies.

    The same is true of the compliance issue. Member states have complicated accounting regulations and the institutionalised minds view a central (but certainly still needlessly complex) book of regulations as the way forward. Why aren’t each of the 27 members looking to make their own regulations easier? No doubt if one did, others would complain to Brussels about it.

    This is an unwritten, unaccountable and unnecessary push for centralisation that puts undue power in Brussels. It is a replication of the way places like Westminster work – people feeling they have to lobbying the centre to gain an advantage is what gives the centre its power and the centre can spend all their time juggling lobby groups, influence and our money.

  5. 5 John 14/02/2011 at 7:47 pm

    This country already is the tax haven of Europe.
    If companies want to run several hundred foreign subsidiaries to avoid as much tax as they can then I have no issue with that. Clearly, if the countries that host those companies then take issue with them using their network of tax-haven offshoots to avoid tax and change their laws to collect some, I am sure that said company will find a way around it. Probably legally. Switzerland is almost certainly the best example of a country that is used to launder vast amounts of illicit funds.

  6. 6 Rereke Whakaaro 14/02/2011 at 10:56 pm

    Just a minor question: When you say, “as our media tows the party line”, are you referring a fishing line, or something drawn on the ground?

  7. 7 Autonomous Mind 15/02/2011 at 8:37 am

    Rereke, I was referring to something more akin to a rope. It was intentionally different to the Parliamentary term ‘toe the line’ which was an instruction to prevent sword fights on the floor of the House resulting in death or injury. Could you imagine our cowed media battling with anyone? All they are fit for is dragging the along the state’s agenda like blind pit ponies.


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