French MEP proposes ’email tax’
A French politician has come up with a new idea to help solve the European Union’s budget problem. MEP Alain Lamassoure has suggested that the EU put a tax on emails and mobile phone text messages.
The centre-right MEP says that all 25 EU national parliaments and governments should make computer users pay a tax of €0.15 (10p) on SMS text messages and €0.00001 on every email. The tax could be imposed on anyone who sent electronic messages in the EU including consumers, businesses and even government departments.
Calling his proposal part of the ‘fiscal system for the 21st century’ Lamassoure has called a meeting with MPs and MEPs from all 25 member countries on 21 June when he hopes to persuade Laszlo Kovacs, the EU budget commissioner, to discuss his idea.
On the Guardian web site Mr Lamassoure is quoted as saying, ‘it would be technically easy and even politically possible to impose a very tiny tax on these millions and billions of operations’.
Although the proposal sounds like something we might expect on 1 April, the EU is looking seriously at new ways to raise revenue. The Union is looking at new ways to finance itself following the row last year over Britain’s budget rebate. A review is scheduled to appear in 2008-09. The currently approved budget lasts from 2007 until 2013.
The email tax would not only benefit the EU. Lamassoure envisages that if, for example, someone sent an SMS message between Paris and Marseille, then the revenue would go to the French government. Messages between member states then the tax would go to the EU. Email messages and other electronic communications that went outside the EU to say, the US or Russia, could be used for special projects such as alleviating world poverty.