Members of European Parliament Launch Facebook Campaign To Reduce Tax Rate on Condoms To Curb HIV/AIDS in E.U.
Members of the European Parliament from the Socialist Group on Thursday in Brussels launched a campaign on the social networking Web site Facebook to cut tax rates on condoms in an effort to curb increasing HIV/AIDS rates in Europe, the Irish Examiner reports. Hundreds of Facebook users already have joined the group, "Cut AIDS, Cut VAT on Condoms," to show their support for the campaign. The group plans to present a petition to government ministers ahead of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1.
In the European Union, value added tax rates vary. Ireland has a 21% VAT rate on condoms, which is the highest in the European Union. The United Kingdom last year reduced VAT on condoms from 17.5% to 5%.
Jan Marinus Wiersma, Socialist Group vice president, said that cutting VAT on condoms would be a practical step to curb HIV/AIDS in Europe and a powerful gesture on World AIDS Day. "People power can spur governments to act," he said, adding, "We urge people across Europe to take a few minutes to sign our online petition and to join our Facebook group." There were 26,984 new HIV cases in the European Union in 2005, the Examiner reports (Cahill, Irish Examiner, 11/9).