MEP pitches email and text message tax

Out-Law News | 01 Jun 2006 | 12:28 pm | 1 min. read

Email users might soon have to pay for the privilege of sending messages in Europe, according to a proposal from a member of the Budgets Committee of the European Parliament. A tax of €0.0000001 per email has been proposed by MEP Alain Lamassoure.

French MEP Alain Lamassoure has proposed the tax alongside a more substantial levy on text messages of €0.015 per message.

"This is peanuts but, given the billions of transactions every day, it could still raise an immense income," Lamassoure told Reuters. "Exchanges between countries have ballooned, so everyone would understand that the money to finance the EU should come from the benefits engendered by the EU."

Lamassoure reportedly wants to be able to reduce national contributions to the EU budget through the measure. Lamassoure is on a working group looking at budgetary issues. He is a member of the centre-right European People's Party, the largest coalition of parties in the Parliament.

Previous proposals aimed at introducing email charges have failed, but earlier this year AOL introduced micropayments for commercial mail as an anti-spam measure.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lamassoure has issued a statement distancing his comments from the budget committee of the European Parliament.

"In the European Parliament, I have been charged with the task of making a proposal on the reform of the financing of the Community budget," Lamassoure said in a statement issued to OUT-LAW.com. 

"Independently of this exercise I asked myself, in a personal capacity, about the evolution of the taxation in the long term," he said. He said that any email or SMS tax could not be an EU measure because at present the EU has no tax raising powers.

While not renouncing the idea directly, Lamassoure seemed to distance himself from the email and SMS tax proposal.

"I insist these ideas are not on the table for our European work, and, for my part, I have no intention of putting them on the table," he said. "Therefore Internet users who felt affected by the press coverage can be reassured."