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Member states want EU fair play on tax

European finance ministers yesterday failed to agree on new rules for examining unfair tax competition between member states, after protests from the Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary.

Dutch junior finance minister Jan Kees de Jager refused to back an expansion of the role of an EU tax working party led by former British minister Dawn Primarolo, saying there was a lack of transparency.

De Jager said the group treats small EU countries more harshly than the big member states. The group has criticised Dutch tax measures nine times since its foundation in 1997. (