Digital summit to bring European leaders

Information available to Postimees suggests Europe’s entire political elite, led by Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Donald Tusk, will convene in Tallinn in the second half of next week to discuss digital agendas with the heads of 25 other EU members.

While Merkel’s participation in the high-level and informal summit depends on this weekend’s election results in Germany, her victory is held likely - postimees.ee said.

If the Tallinn Digital Summit the official program of which prescribes discussing far-reaching digital and innovation visions is scheduled to take place on Friday, European leaders will arrive in Tallinn on the previous day.

Leaders will arrive on Thursday for an informal dinner with President of the European Council Donald Tusk. A record number of rooms are rumored to have been booked for bi- and trilateral discussions next to the official program.

Old Town restaurants have not been taking reservations from ordinary people for Thursday and Friday of next week for some time. Downtown traffic will basically be shut down over the two-day period. Several leaders will be visiting military bases and other institutions with ties to their country in Estonia.

Why is the Tallinn digital summit paid so much attention? On the one hand, the topics themselves are important: the future of governments, the economy, and society; Europe’s survival in global digital competition, EU-level cybersecurity matters, copyright.

On the other, a statement from the European Commission yesterday leaves no doubt: it is also a matter of billions of tax euros collecting of which from internet giants, such as Google and Facebook, is a definite short-term plan for the EU. This matter has all but become one of the most burning topics of Estonia’s EU presidency, attracting global attention.

“Political discussions between member states will continue at the Tallinn Digital Summit on September 29. As announced after the ECOFIN meeting (EU finance ministers in Tallinn last week – ed.), the presidency will continue working toward clear positions in the council by the year’s end that will in turn become the EU’s positions in international deliberations of taxation of digital economy and a foundation for future work on the common market,” the Commission’s statement read.

Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said in Tallinn last week that the coming digital summit is the first place where a solution will be sought for a situation that presently satisfies no European country.

The issue at hand is that technology titans Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon et al. have grabbed a substantial part of the European digital advertising and services market, pushing aside local service providers in a situation where taxes on their activities are collected either in the United States or a few European countries in which the corporations have a physical presence, like Ireland or Luxembourg.

The European Union wants taxes paid where revenue is generated, even if companies do not have local offices or employees in relevant countries, which is standard practice for digital enterprises.

If the European Union has so far opted for consensual decision-making in tax matters, there is pressure not to apply the veto ban regarding this matter so smaller members couldn’t block the plans of larger countries.

The role of Estonia, as the presidency, has been noteworthy so far. The finance ministry, under Deputy Chancellor Dmitri Jegorov, presented very clear proposals of how to tax digital giants to European countries a few weeks ago. Estonia’s position is that instead of a company’s physical place of business, what is important is its permanent virtual location – it would serve just as well for accounting of turnover and taxes.

Jegorov told Postimees that confirming a company’s virtual permanent place of business would mean nothing other than its substantial digital presence on the market giving the state the right to tax its profits. Estonia’s proposal for a long-term solution was welcomed by more than 20 member states.

Read also more news of Tallinn on out site.

postimees.ee
Europeanleaders ECOFINmeeting Estonia
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...