Derk Jan Eppink MEP Speaks Out Against EU Tax Plans

MediaDerk Jan Eppink MEP Speaks Out Against EU Tax Plans               

Derk Jan Eppink, MEP for Belgium and a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, has hit out strenuously at plans for EU taxes, revealed today by the EU’s Tax Commissioner, Janusz Lewandowski. Mr Lewandowski told the Financial Times Deutschland that “the door is open to think about revenues that are not claimed by (national) finance ministers.” He said that the current system whereby 76 per cent of the EU’s budget is paid for by national contributions “was not the intention of the founding fathers."

But Mr Eppink, a former Commission insider whose recent books “Life of a European Mandarin" and "Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe” predicted calls for EU taxes earlier this year, said: “Unsurprisingly, the Commission’s main entry gate may be open to EU taxes, but I am sure ordinary taxpayer’s will close all doors and windows. No wonder the Commission launches it as its mid summer night's dream''.

Mr Lewandowski’s spokesman, Patrizio Fiorilli, told the media today that "the time is now to look into alternative sources of income for the EU budget," adding that in late September the Commissioner will set out a series of options for EU taxes, including a levy on air transport, a tax on financial transactions and the allocation of some of the funds from the planned auction of greenhouse gas emissions permits.

Mr Eppink saw the irony of the remarks. “The time is now only because the Commission is taking people by surprise when they are in the middle of their summer holidays, while tanning their bellies. It’s a well-known bureaucratic trick for announcing unwelcome things.” 

Speech during book launch 'Bonfire of Bureaucracy in Europe'

Ladies and gentlemen,


book_launch_smallThis book was born in the air, mid-Atlantic. Since I was elected last year, I have been commuting between Brussels, the capital of Europe, and New York, the capital of the world, where I used to live and where my family will be living until this summer. On these repetitive long flights I thought: what shall I do? After a while, I had heard all the music and had seen all films worthwhile seeing. So, I thought, why not write a book in the plane on a small laptop? Obviously, since I am member of the European Parliament, it would be a book on Europe. So this book is launched today because for many hours I had nothing better to do.


Writing a book is a process of creation. You start with some ideas, you have to design a structure and map out the storyline. In the end you have to write down the words. Context without text is empty, but text without context is meaningless.

The most important challenge of a book is to raise crucial questions. For me, the election last year was the fourth return to the European Parliament. I started here as an assistant in the 1980s, I often came to the European Parliament as a journalist in the 1990s and I returned as a member of the cabinet of the Commissioners Bolkestein and Kallas in the past decade. And now, I have been a member of this congregation for nearly one year.


Question one is: what am I doing here?


Question two is: what are all the others doing here?