Renzi Pressed to Put Google, Facebook Taxes on EU Agenda

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under pressure to craft European Union policy to prevent Internet firms like Google Inc. (GOOGL) and Facebook Inc. from steering their tax liabilities to countries with the lowest rates.

Renzi was urged by Francesco Boccia, a top lawmaker in his own Democratic Party, to use Italy’s rotating EU presidency, which starts today, to put the subject on the agenda. Boccia, chairman of the budget commission in Italy’s lower house of parliament, brought media executives from companies including television broadcaster Mediaset SpA (MS) and publisher Gruppo Editoriale L’Espresso SpA (ES) to Rome yesterday to join him in a call for action.

The strategies that allow Internet companies to pay lower taxes in territories such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda have come under criticism from governments and competitors. A remedy devised by the Italian parliament was scuttled this year by Renzi, who said the issue was best confronted by the EU.

Renzi “will make it a priority” during Italy’s six-month EU presidency, Boccia said yesterday in a Twitter post.

Filippo Sensi, a spokesman for Renzi, didn’t respond to a text message seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Eddie Buckle, Leon Mangasarian

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