GroenLinks leader takes dividend tax cut to the European Commission

Jesse Klaver was the big winner at the general election. Photo: Merlijn Doomernik

GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver has appealed to the European Commission to get involved in the new Dutch government’s controversial decision to scrap the tax on dividends.

Klaver has written to the commission’s finance and competition commissioners calling on them to speak out against the Dutch plans, saying it will speed up the race to the bottom in tax rates between EU countries.

‘The Netherlands already is the country with the lowest effective tax rate on capital in Europe,’ he says. ‘The recent publication of the Paradise Papers has fuelled stern criticism from other European member states as well.’

The new government has decided to scrap the tax, costing the treasury €1.4bn, even though it was not included any of the four parties’ manifestos. Prime minister Mark Rutte says the cut is necessary to protect Dutch jobs.

It has since emerged that Shell and Unilever, both of which have headquarters in the Netherlands and London, had tried to pressure the new coalition to repeal the tax. Klaver said earlier the government is being blackmailed by big business.

‘More and more people become convinced that the European institutions primarily exist to benefit a small group of elites,’ Klaver writes in his letter. ‘It is now up to us, the pro-European forces, to prove the contrary.’

Parliament is set to debate the decision to scrap the tax with Rutte next week.