LONDON - Prime Minister Juhan Parts and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said at their meeting on Tuesday that the authority to make decisions on taxes must remain the sovereign right of individual EU member states.
Parts and Straw, who spoke during lunch on economic matters and the 2007 - 2013 EU budget, stressed that tax competition was good for economic development, particularly in view of improving European competitiveness and meeting the goals of the Lisbon agenda.
Parts said that Estonia and Britain had a common understanding on what measures member states needed to apply to improve Europe's competitiveness, one of the core missions of the European Union.
Regarding the union budget, Britain and other net contributors want spending over the six-year period to be capped at 1 percent of the bloc's GNP rather than 1.24 percent. Parts responded to this by saying, "We wish that the budget of the EU would be as transparent and simple as possible. Lowering the budget ceiling cannot be a goal in itself, what matters is what are the budget's priorities, for what the money is used."
The meeting also touched upon the topic of the EU neighborhood policy, of which Britain was one of the initiators. Parts and Straw agreed that Estonia and Britain could, based on common interests, work more closely to support the development of Georgia but also of other countries within the project's framework.