PRAGUE (Reuters) – Germany is ready to introduce a minimum corporate tax through national laws if the European Union fails to reach an agreement, its finance minister said on Friday, while his counterpart French hinted that he might do the same.
Hungary raised objections that delayed the EU’s adoption of a minimum corporate tax of 15%, stymieing a deal that would have turned a global plan into law across the bloc.
Germany and France have taken the lead in the EU by implementing the minimum tax as early as 2023.
“We strongly support a European approach. We are trying to convince all member states, especially one,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers in Prague, alongside his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.
“We have taken the decision to implement minimum corporate taxation in Germany if there is no European agreement on this, and I think others will be open to a similar approach.”
France said EU countries will find a way to adopt plans for a minimum corporate tax rate whether or not Hungary supports the reform.
Hungary has argued that approval of the plan could harm Europe’s economy, which is suffering due to soaring inflation and the building energy crisis as Russia cuts gas flows and prices electricity are skyrocketing as a result.
The Mayor said “justice” was needed in these difficult economic times, which meant swift implementation of the plan that had already been in the works for years. He said national-level options would be open if cooperation was not possible.
“Now it’s time to implement this decision, we shouldn’t talk,” Le Maire said. “We should decide and implement this minimum corporate tax no later than next year.”
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Potter)