EU minimum tax deal: European countries bowed to EU tax havens' demands

Publié: 13th décembre 2022

After months of deadlock, EU countries reached an agreement on a low-rate minimum tax for multinational profits at the EU level. This follows a deal struck at the international level to implement a global minimum tax.  

In response, Chiara Putaturo, Oxfam EU Tax expert, said: 

"The agreement shows how the EU is being held hostage by a handful of European tax havens. The minimum tax rate is far too low, bowing to the demands of EU countries that profit off low tax rates, like Ireland and Malta. It includes generous exemptions allowing super-profitable and undertaxed multinationals to escape the minimum tax.  

“This deal will not fix the problem of aggressive tax competition as it is a carbon copy of the weak international tax deal. EU countries disregarded the opportunity to raise the bar and set in stone a tax system that is not fit for the many crises the world is facing.  

"The OECD deal is unfair to poorer countries who only get crumbs from it. The least EU countries can still do is guarantee a more equal division of tax revenue with low-income countries. They can do this by reviewing unfair bilateral tax agreements. Also, the EU should not blacklist poorer countries that do not sign up for tax agreements that go against their own national interests. Instead, the EU should listen to their demands to support a global UN Tax Convention.” 

Notes aux rédactions

Chiara Putaturo is available for comment and interview.  

The agreement follows the European Commission’s proposal tabled one year ago. Oxfam criticised its lack of ambition. The Commission’s proposal follows an agreement at the OECD level to be implemented in 2023.     

Oxfam considers the effective tax rate of 15 percent far too low. The proposal includes a so-called ‘substance carve-out’. This allows companies to pay a lower tax rate than 15 percent in countries where they have many employees or tangible assets such as factories and machinery. In the manifesto with recommendations to the French Presidency, Oxfam explained how it was possible to improve the minimum tax at the EU level. 

EU countries have been locked in negotiations for over a year. First, Malta was amongst the most reticent EU countries in the EU’s negotiations. Ireland, whose main corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent, has strongly advocated at the OECD level to keep the minimum tax rate not higher than 15 percent. Over the last months, first Poland and Estonia, then Hungary have blocked the file. 

The European Commission identified risks of aggressive tax planning in Malta and Ireland (together with Cyprus, Hungary, Luxembourg and The Netherlands).  

The European Commission said it wants to introduce Pillar 2 as a new criterion of the EU tax havens list.  

On the 24 November, a UN resolution was adopted by unanimous consent where countries commit to start dialogue to strengthen the inclusiveness and effectiveness of international tax cooperation and consider an international tax cooperation framework under the UN (Un Tax Convention). 


Jade Tenwick | Brussels, Belgium | | mobile +32 473 562260    

Julia Manresa | Brussels, Belgium | | mobile +32 473 8744 26         

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