In the coming months, the European Union will introduce a minimum corporate tax rate “with or without Hungary,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.
Speaking with a group of reporters in Paris, Le Maire said the bloc was looking for “alternative options” to introduce the 15 percent minimum corporate tax rate “even though Hungary is resisting,” and explained he is working with EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni to achieve this.
The directive on the minimum tax was one of the most important priorities of the French presidency of the EU. The proposal had been put on the agenda back in January, but no consensus could be found because Hungary did not support the plan.
Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó doubled down on the Hungarian government’s position earlier this week, telling journalists at the NATO summit in Madrid that Viktor Orbán’s administration is one of tax cuts, not tax hikes; he further warned that the country “would completely lose our competitive advantage” were it to be introduced in Hungary.
The Hungarian parliament passed a resolution last week against the planned EU directive on implementing a minimum 15 percent corporate tax rate, with 118 votes against the measure versus 32 in favor and eight abstentions.
“I will never give up on this case,” Le Maire told the press. According to him, “everyone knows” that Budapest’s opposition has “absolutely nothing to do” with the merits of the proposal. “Europe should no longer be held hostage by the ill will of some members,” the French minister said.