It was with some disbelief that the FT reported that 3 Nordic countries, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, are objecting to EU tax being placed on the FANGS.
These companies (Google, Apple, Netflix, Facebook) operate global operations with massive profits on which they pay almost no taxes when compared to local companies – big and small.
The reasons for having a tax is clear:
- They have a monopolist strangle-hold on many parts of the global markets and this tax advantage that they aggressively manage is an insult to free competition.
- The companies are stealing news and advertising income from the local media companies so fast that journalists are being fired or put out as freelances at much reduced wages.
- In many countries the same companies are allowing Russian trolls to operate to destroy our democratic values.
- In many countries terrorist groups are using the same companies to post recruitment videos.
- Why are the Nordic countries opposing the EU tax proposal – is it because the companies are opening cloud data centres in many northern European countries where it is cool and where energy is cheap. Is this the offer of building these centres in the Nordics behind the refusal to implement a common EU tax on these companies? Naturally Sweden is objecting because they have several companies like Spotify that operate in the global tech markets.
There have been no local reports in Finland from the government why they are opposed to such an important proposal.
It is almost impossible to understand that the Nordic countries who are said to believe in transparency and fair and open competition want to support the abhorrent global march of these Tech Giants. If these governments want to allow such enormous tax breaks to the FANGS then they should at least offer the same tax breaks to local companies who employ our own people… but we all know that is a totally irresponsible proposal so why do we oppose the EU’s proposal?
The EU tax has been criticised for being based on the turnover of these companies and not based on whether a company makes a profit. However, the EU has understood this problem and is only proposing an interim solution. They argue that it takes decades to have a full international tax reform and there is a need to ensure that the situation is corrected in some way as soon as possible. The present proposal from the EU does not destroy any of these companies. It just causes a mosquito bite in their profits. You can be sure that their tax consultants, lawyers and lobbyists are talking to every government, and every sympathetic MEP. They are miles ahead in being able to control these negotiations and play one government against another.
But none of this explains why Finland, Sweden, and Denmark want to oppose any tax proposal.
Speak up Mr. Sipilä & Co.