France, which currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, on Tuesday said it hoped Poland would next month lift its opposition to implementing an internationally agreed minimum tax on big multinationals.

"I am convinced that (the blockages) can be lifted by June 17," the date of the next meeting of EU finance ministers, said French finance minister Bruno Le Maire at a meeting with his counterparts in Brussels.

"I have had several times my Polish counterpart on the phone over the past few days... I think we are removing the obstacles" to an agreement, said Le Maire.

The EU is trying to seal into law a landmark agreement by nearly 140 countries that forces governments to impose a 15% minimum tax on the world's biggest companies.

France's six-month EU presidency ends on June 30 and Paris wants the 27-member bloc to be the first jurisdiction to implement the OECD-brokered agreement.

The EU's target implementation date has already been delayed by a year to December 31, 2023 to satisfy some countries that wanted more time.

The global minimum tax is just one part of the OECD deal, and at the heart of Warsaw's criticism is that the other key part, or "pillar one", needs to be implemented at the same time.

That part involves a highly complex agreement which would see companies taxed where their profits are made; it targets big tech groups, but has yet to be fully finalised.

However, the resistance by Poland comes when its relationship with EU partners is fraught, with Warsaw along with Budapest seen as steering away from the bloc's democratic values.

Justified on technical grounds, the Polish veto of the minimum tax is seen in Brussels as a means of pressure to obtain the release of the 36 billion euros in grants and loans planned for Poland under the European pandemic recovery plan.

These funds have been blocked by the Commission since last year because of Warsaw's failure to ensure the independence of its judiciary. Their eventual release could remove the Polish obstacle.

"I will spare no effort to convince Poland to take the final step to join the consensus on minimum taxation," said Bruno Le Maire on Tuesday.

Asked if Poland's recovery cash could be released soon, EU executive vice president Valdis Dombrovskis said an understanding could be happening in the coming "days or week".

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us