BERLIN (Reuters) – The two political parties seeking to form Germany’s next government want big companies to pay more tax, according to a coalition agreement whose text singled out U.S. tech giants by name.
“We support fair taxation of large companies, in particular Internet concerns like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon,” according to a brief passage in their 177-page coalition pact published on Wednesday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) are seeking to revive the ‘grand coalition’ alliance that has governed Germany for the past four years.
SPD leader Martin Schulz, poised to become foreign minister if party members back the coalition deal, has urged the European Union to ensure that Big Tech pays more tax. He also wants to create the post of EU finance minister.
Separately, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Reuters the EU must lead the way by adopting legislation early next year to ensure that big global tech companies pay billions of euros in taxes in Europe.
Google (GOOGL.O), Apple (AAPL.O) Facebook (FB.O). and Amazon (AMZN.O) are in Europe often taxed on profits booked by subsidiaries in low-tax countries like Ireland or Luxembourg even though their revenues are earned across the bloc.
The European Commission declined to comment on the German coalition agreement, but did say that it was examining “all possible policy options” and would come forward this spring with new rules for digital taxation.
“As for every business, digital giants should pay their fair share of tax in the countries where their profits are earned,” the Commission said in written answers to Reuters questions.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Ingrid Melander and Foo Yun Chee; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Richard Balmforth