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Herman Van Rompuy, front-runner for presidency, wants EU-wide tax

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David Charter and Philip Webster
London Times
Tuesday, Nov 17th, 2009

The man tipped to be Europe’s first president is already considering new EU taxes to fund the rising cost of Brussels and the welfare state.

Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian Prime Minister, broke his silence before Thursday’s summit to choose the president — but only at a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group of top politicians, bankers and businessmen.

Mr Van Rompuy’s contentious remarks were aired privately amid the grand surroundings of the Castle of the Valley of the Duchess near Brussels. The château hosted the talks on the Treaty of Rome in 1957 that launched the European Union.

His office released parts of his speech in which he talked of funding social welfare from new green taxes and went on to discuss “financing levies at European level”, which his spokesman said later was similar to Gordon Brown’s call for an international tax on financial transactions.

The funding of the EU was discussed further after his speech, according to Flemish newspapers, but his office refused to give more details. Mr Van Rompuy remains the favourite for the position of president of the European Council — other contenders include Tony Blair — to be chosen when the 27 EU leaders meet in Brussels in two days’ time.

Mr Van Rompuy’s Bilderberg intervention will alarm non-federalist countries such as Britain and Denmark, which have long opposed giving the EU tax-raising powers and breaking the link with national funding.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 11:17 am





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