The Financial Times Deutschland carried a story yesterday quoting a senior European commissioner as saying direct EU taxes could be introduced in the near future.
EU budget commissioner Janusz Lewandowski said: "I'm hearing from a number of capitals, including important ones like Berlin, that they would like to lower their contributions [to the EU].
"Many countries want to be unburdened. In this way, the door has been opened ... to think about collecting revenues in a different way.
"There are various ways revenues could be collected directly and linked to European policy ... like a financial transaction tax, CO2 emission auctions and an aviation scheme.
"A transaction tax can bring in a big amount of money. ... The others will only contribute a smaller part to the Ä140bn a year we are spending."
Currently EU member states pay a fixed amount to the EU budget in proportion to their GDP, alongside a portion of revenue raised through value-added tax.
Tory Treasury minister Lord Sassoon moved quickly to declare his opposition to direct EU taxation. He said: "The UK believes that taxation is a matter for member states to determine at a national level and would have a veto over any plans for such taxes."
Unsurprisingly, the UK Independence Party are also opposed. Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom said: "The British people must not be bamboozled out of their money by devious Eurocrats."