, Vienna Finance Minister Blümel attends first ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings

Digital tax, the Green Deal and financial transaction tax at the focus of discussions. Austrian Finance Minister advocates multinational solutions for taxation of digital business models and a broad assessment basis for financial transactions; current FTT proposal is rejected.

For the first time in his new role, Finance Minister Blümel attended the ECOFIN and Eurogroup meetings in Brussels. The ECOFIN Council is made up of the economics and finance ministers of the Member States and generally meets on a monthly basis. It has responsibility for EU policy in the areas of economic policy, tax and the regulation of financial services. The Eurogroup, on the other hand, is an informal committee bringing together the ministers of the Eurozone.

At the latest meeting, the issues on the agenda included digital tax, the Green Deal and financial transaction tax (FTT). Austria is already a pioneer in matters of digital tax, which has been in force since 1 January 2020. However, Finance Minister Blümel made clear that the aim was to find a European or, ideally, an international solution (at OECD level). "Digital tax makes a key contribution to fairer taxation, and we want to have fair taxation and a level competitive playing field across the whole of Europe. For this reason, we are committed to finding a European or international solution," explained Blümel.

In terms of the Green Deal too, Austria is going ahead and leading the way in Europe. "Our aim is to establish a stronger economic base and enable investments in future-oriented sectors, while still complying with European stability rules," added Blümel. It was also made clear that, in this domain, Austria will be structuring the future with Europe.

A further topic was the current proposal on financial transaction tax. "We take a sceptical view of this proposal. It turns the original idea of financial transaction tax on its head. While the real economy and small investors are punished, high-risk transactions are indirectly supported," explained Blümel. A new proposal is therefore anticipated which will do justice to the original idea of a financial tax. "The current proposal needs to be revised so that it once more points in the direction of the original notion of a broad financial transaction tax, preventing speculation and supporting the real economy," concluded Blümel.