More than a year after the start of the pandemic, the signals about the end of the financial and economic crisis are exciting for Europe. The idea of an “alignment of the planets” is not exaggerated: the gradual resumption of world trade, the adaptation of our economies to health protocols, stronger budgetary support and the acceleration of vaccinations point to a clear rebound. of activity in 2021 and 2022.
Faced with the health, but also social and political threats that the Covid-19 epidemic continues to pose, there is no doubt that governments will maintain their proactive bias towards “whatever the cost”, via ambitious programs of fiscal and investment spending for the recovery. However, let us not forget the main challenge of the microeconomic fabric in the short term, namely successful companies but too indebted to invest and guarantee the continuation of their activity.
Beyond these constructive trajectories, there is today a catalyst that opens up frankly favorable prospects and we can only rejoice. The emergence of a European federalism! Faced with the challenge of the health crisis, an unprecedented convergence of interests and solidarity has made it possible to take a step forward in European integration.
The repayment of the European debt “Covid-19” will call for more common tax resources
It was obviously on July 21 that European cohesion was expressed with the greatest impact. Under the aegis of the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Europe has managed to develop a concerted economic recovery plan of 750 billion euros (Next Generation EU), built on compromises: so-called “frugal” countries and “Latin” countries or those traditionally considered expensive, have come to an agreement around debt solidarity and the relaxation of budgetary rules.
A historic turning point, since the 27 member countries have succeeded where they failed during the sovereign debt crisis almost 10 years ago. From Victor Orbàn to Sebastian Kurz, the moral and philosophical positions on the fairness or not, legitimate or not, of a common debt will have been exceeded in sanitary circumstances who have indiscriminately upset all the nations in their flesh.
Through the issuance of a “Covid-19” debt, it is the productive investment that European leaders wish to finance while laying the foundations for a tax architecture shared by all member countries. Because there is a need, to repay this debt whose maturity is 2053, to find new coherent and common fiscal resources. The European Commission is working on it and several lines of thought lead to European tax instruments: tax on the profits of large companies, tax on multinationals in the digital sector or even on the production of non-recyclable plastic. One more step towards progressive tax harmonization, beyond VAT rates already partially common to the Member States, which could sustainably fuel European debt and budget.
“Europe will not be built all at once, nor in an overall construction: it will be built through concrete achievements first creating de facto solidarity”. Robert Schuman’s founding declaration at the birth of the ECSC on May 9, 1950, found an incredible echo in 2021. This renewal of European unity lays solid foundations for a way out of the health, economic and financial crisis from above.