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Vienna, 26.09.2018 Digital tax: Finance Minister Löger seeks talks with Ireland In the course of a short visit to Ireland, Löger promotes the Austrian EU Council presidency priorities and envisages agreement on banking union and the deepening of EMU.

Building on the conclusions drawn at the informal ECOFIN in Vienna, Finance Minister Hartwig Löger has said that he wishes to reach agreement on a way of taxing the digital economy before the end of this year. In the implementation phase, the current ECOFIN chair is keen to engage in dialogue, and is seeking direct talks with his counterparts in order to explore a possible compromise solution. During his short visit to Dublin he spoke on this subject with his Irish counterpart Paschal Donohoe: “It was a good discussion with Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and an ideal opportunity to exchange different views. We both know there will be obstacles to be overcome, but I discern a willingness on the part of the Irish to make progress on this matter,” said the Austrian Finance Minister after the bilateral working meeting.

During the talk, the current ECOFIN chair Hartwig Löger assured his Irish counterpart that he is serious about his role as moderator and wants to facilitate communication between countries. At the same time the Austrian Finance Minister does not see much scope for procrastination of the debate at European level:
“People expect a clear answer to the unfairness that currently exists between the traditional economy and the digital economy in regard to tax. Given the pressure of the situation, we must therefore devise the best solution in the shortest possible time, without drawing false conclusions or frightening off global partners.”

The completion of banking union and the deepening of economic and monetary union were two further items on the agenda which Löger has defined as having priority status for the Austrian EU Council Presidency. The two finance ministers have indicated their agreement on both matters. In regard to banking union, according to Löger, it is important first of all to minimise financial market risks throughout Europe before a standard security network can be applied to all Member States. Both countries have a positive attitude in regard to deeper economic and monetary union. However, the focus should first of all be on the observance of existing rules and the improvement of current instruments, says Löger. The new instruments relating to economic and monetary union, as proposed by the Commission in the context of the multi-annual financial framework, will therefore require further discussion.

The Austrian Finance Minister continues his talks with the Member States today at 7 pm in The Hague, where he will be meeting his Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra. At this working meeting the multi-annual financial framework will be discussed as well as the question of digital tax.

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