Portugal and Spain hope for agreement on new European tax rules


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Portugal and Spain hope for an agreement on new tax rules in Europe in the second half of the year during Spain’s presidency of the EU, the two countries’ finance and economic affairs ministers said today.
“BothPortugaland Spain consider it urgent to move forward and we urge the European Commission to present as soon as possible a legislative project that allows us to reach an agreement in the second part of the year,” said the Spanish Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, in a press conference with Portuguese Finance Minister Fernando Medina in Madrid.

Medina said that the “economic governance” dossier, currently being debated within the European Union (EU), “requires a decisive, firm solution, advanced over the coming months” and “probably and desirably” will be concluded during the Spanish European presidency, with Portugal and Spain having “a very aligned position.

Specifically, the Portuguese minister defended “investment policies financed by national but also European resources” or the “key role of commitment to sustainable fiscal policies”, namely, “deficits that ensure the sustainability of public debts of the various states in the eurozone.

Nadia Calviño and Fernando Medina had a bilateral meeting today in Madrid after both participated in a debate on the priorities of European economic policy organized by the Elcano Institute for International and Strategic Studies.

The two ministers also agreed that the European response to the subsidy plan announced by the United States “cannot result in a fragmentation of the European Union’s internal market” and there must be unity among the 27, so as not to create inequalities between countries with “greater financial capacity from their own budgets” to release direct aid to certain sectors, according to Fernando Medina.

“We need to find a compromise solution that allows not only a response on the external front, but also allows protecting the essence of our economic union, which is the existence of a solid internal market that works,” added the Portuguese minister.

In the debate at the Elcano Institute, Medina had already insisted that the advantage of European unity in responding to crises is one of the “lessons learned” from the covid-19 pandemic, to argue that this should be the line to take.

Nadia Calviño, in turn, insisted that Portugal and Spain, both with socialist governments, are examples of two countries that have been able, in recent years, to have “rigorous” financial policies, with “very rapid” reduction of deficits and public debt but compatible with economic growth, job creation, “social justice” or modernization of economies, arguing that Lisbon and Madrid can and should have an “important role” in the debate on the future of Europe’s economic policies.

Fernando Medina reiterated the idea that the European Union must maintain permanent budgetary capacity for strategic investments and added, at the press conference, that a “new strategy” is needed given the “policy that the European Central Bank is currently implementing”, with an increase in interest rates and “above all” a decrease in the purchase of sovereign debt of member states.

“It implies a greater effort to diversify the sources of financing for the Republic’s needs,” but “it also highlights the reinforced importance of the strategy of prudence in relation to the management of public accounts, translated into a continued significant reduction in the weight of public debt” and “the need to maintain sustainable levels of public deficit,” Medina argued.

The Portuguese minister said that “the end of the era of low or zero interest rates even” is “a reality that must be faced head-on by the finance ministers.

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