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European Parliament votes for new taxes in EU to repay recovery borrowing

FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament voted on Wednesday in favour of assigning new tax revenues to the European Union to repay the bloc’s intended joint borrowing of 750 billion euros ($888 billion) for economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lawmakers voted 455 votes in favour and 146 against, with 88 abstentions, to introduce new sources of revenue - so called “own resources” - to the EU budget that should at least cover the costs related to the recovery plan.

They could include a tax on unrecycled plastic and on goods imported into the EU from countries with less ambitious climate-change fighting standards. Also under consideration is taxing digital giants and extending an EU CO2 emissions trading scheme into the maritime and aviation sectors.

Leaders hope the 750 billion euro recovery fund and its related 1.1 trillion euro 2021-2027 budget will help repair the continent’s deepest recession since World War Two after the coronavirus outbreak shut down economies.

Wednesday’s vote enables governments to decide on granting the EU budget new “own resources” and for parliaments in the 27 members to ratify it, which would enable the executive Commission to start borrowing the money.

“We will now ensure that the debt is repaid by tech giants, tax dodgers, big foreign polluters and others who do benefit from our single market but do not contribute fairly to our prosperity and the protection of our planet,” said French liberal MEP Valerie Hayer, a co-rapporteur on the issue.

Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne