The lead socialist candidate for the post of European Commission president has reiterated his aim to introduce a minimum corporate tax rate of 18 per cent across the EU.

Outgoing European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who was in Malta a few weeks ago to address Labour’s May Day rally, said on Wednesday that a minimum tax rate would create a fair playing field across the EU.

The Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the European party grouping to which the PL is attached, have made the introduction of a minimum tax rate one of  their key policy planks for the European Parliament elections.

This has put it at odds with the Labour government’s own stance against any such tax harmonisation.

While Malta’s corporate tax rate on paper stands at 35%, foreign-owned companies can apply for refunds which can potentially reduce their tax burden to just 5%.

Speaking during a debate with candidates from other political groupings, Mr Timmermans said countries would be free to set higher rates if they wanted to.

This call for a minimum tax rate was supported by Greens candidate Ska Keller and liberal candidate Margrethe Vestager.

Mr Timmermans expressed his belief that big companies should start to pay their fair share of taxes.

“It is time we introduce minimum wages in every member state. It is time we have equality of pay for men and women. It is time we put an end to violence against women in Europe,” Mr Timmermans said.

The socialist candidate also spoke about the need to enforce the rule of law in every EU country, ensuring that everyone abided by the rules.

The European People’s Party’s candidate Manfred Weber did not endorse the call for a minimum corporate tax rate of 18 per cent during Wednesday’s debate.

The Nationalist Party has opposed calls for tax harmonisation, which requires unanimity between all the EU member states to be introduced.

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