The “enhanced cooperation” between Member States of the Union is sometimes presented as a mechanism enabling to overcome the rule of unanimity, particularly in the field of taxation. But in reality this mechanism is based on extremely restrictive rules which today block any genuine advance in the fiscal or institutional fields. The implementation of a common corporate tax (or any other common tax) in the context of enhanced cooperation would require a minimum of 9 participant States, as well as the qualified majority agreement of the Council.
In real terms that means, over and above ensuring the participation of 9 Member States, the tax would require to be voted by 55% of the Member States of the Council representing 65% of the population, to approve the initiative. Even more restrictive is the fact that without the prior approval of the Commission (which is probable), it would require the agreement of 72% of the Member States representing 65% of the population of the Union! Finally, 4 States representing 35% of the population could completely block the proposal.
Briefly, at the moment “enhanced cooperation” does not allow a small group of countries to embark on the task of fiscal harmonization or an ambitious institutional reform. On the contrary, there is nothing to prevent a few pioneering States to create common taxation with the support of a Treaty and an Assembly of the same type as we propose. We consider this could create a dynamic for further opportunities (as was the case at the beginning of European construction) which could break the present institutional inertia.
This post was written by admTDEM