Banco Santander mobilizes in the EU while planning the legal battle for the tax


Banco Santander pulls strings in Brussels while considering give the Government the legal battle for the new tax that will tax its benefits for the years 2022 and 2023. As La Información has learned, the entity that presides Ana Botin is holding high-level meetings with representatives of the European Commission and intensifying the work of lobby in different areas to put pressure on the authorities in defense of the interests of the national financial sector, particularly concerned at this time by the tax approved last week by the Congress of Deputies and which is already on its way to the Senate.

Bank representatives held a meeting in Brussels in mid-November with Mirzha De Manuel, a member of the cabinet of the executive vice-president of the European Commission and head of Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis. According to the information provided by the entity to the community registry in which there is evidence of the contacts maintained by lobbyists in European instances, in the meeting it was addressed from the economic situation and perspectives to the priorities in terms of economic and social policy or recovery and resilience plans.

Botín thus intensifies the activity of lobby in the Belgian capital, where his team has held a dozen meetings so far this year, most concentrated in this second semester, coinciding with a time when the legal services of the main financial institutions are studying the possibility of appealing the tax in the courts, also those of Santander. “Right now all the options are open, we are not ruling anything out, but, in any case, the appeal must be made when paid”indicate bank sources consulted by this means.

The sector as a whole, through the Spanish Banking Association (AEB), is focused on this pressure strategy to try to stop or soften the tax, which is still in process. And the first to use her influence in Europe is Botín herself, who, as president of the European Banking Federation (EBF, for its acronym in English), is using its influence in defense of the interests of the national financial sector to try to knock down the tax.

Other entities such as BBVA have also intensified their schedule of meetings with senior officials of the European Commission since the end of summer, coinciding with the start of the tax’s parliamentary processing. In this sense, from the sector they do not hide that they are carrying out “an intense activity of lobby in Brussels”, taking advantage of “all available channels”. The first platform used by the AEB was the CEOE and BusinessEurope, the European employers’ association, which addressed a letter to community authorities in which it warned of the impact on companies and the economic recovery of the extraordinary measures adopted in different Member States in tax matters, about which the representatives of European businessmen expressed their concern.

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Both through the CEOE, the AEB and the EBF, as well as the European Commission itself, the banks are intensifying the work of lobby to deactivate a lien that they believe generates a double taxation problem, is contrary to the principles of equality and non-discrimination and would negatively affect the economy and employment. And in parallel, the entities are already preparing their strategies to appeal the tax in court (the non-tax public property benefit, nomen iuris that seeks to justify that the national tax does not mask a case of double taxation).

“It creates a double taxation problem and is contrary to the principles of equality and non-discrimination”

It must be remembered that the employers, beyond putting pressure on the Government from various fronts to try to withdraw the measure, cannot appeal it in court because they are not a taxpayer, therefore, it will depend on the decision made by the banks. And some entities have already forcefully announced that they will appeal it, as is the case with Bankinter. “The day after paying it, we are going to appeal it”has publicly assured its CEO, Maria Dolores Dancausa. “If it has elements that in our fiduciary responsibility we understand is not in accordance with the law, our obligation as managers will be to appeal it,” the CEO of CaixaBank advanced in the same forum, Gonzalo Gortazar.

From Banco Sabadell, its CEO Cesar Gonzalez Good He affirmed that “the reasons against the tax are objective” and defended that “the motivation” of a tax “constructed poorly and hastily” is not very well understood. Meanwhile, Santander’s director for Spain and Europe, António Simões, insisted that the measure will force credit to be restricted by 50,000 million euros and is bad for the economy and families, for the competitiveness and confidence of investors in Spain. And in similar terms the CEO of BBVA, Onur Gencwho warned that the new tax will “damage the investment capacity of the banking system.”

To a greater or lesser extent, banks have been warning that they will appeal the tax. The legal machinery is in motion. For now, efforts are focused on trying to cushion its impact, since the option of stopping it in the parliamentary process has already been ruled out by lobbyists in the sector. The norm will go ahead, like the tribute to energy companies and the solidarity tax on great fortunes. And everything points to an arduous and long-lasting battle in the courts.


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