01 Dec 2016
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 01 DECEMBERBrussels Daily
Animal health: European Commission takes action against the spread of Avian Flu
On Wednesday 30 November the Member States supported a Commission proposal that consolidates the protective measures in relation to outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) of subtype H5N8 in several Member States. Commenting the measures, Commissioner Andriukaitis said: “The Commission has reacted promptly to this situation, and though the virus is still predominantly a bird virus without any specific increased affinity for humans, I call on Member States authorities, and the poultry sector, for extreme vigilance over this virus, and in particular the stepping up of biosecurity on poultry farms”. The virus, introduced in wild migratory birds which can carry it during their seasonal movements, has caused, at present, a total of 56 outbreaks of HPAI in poultry farms in Hungary, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands affecting a variety of poultry species (ducks, geese, turkeys, chickens) mainly in backyard farms. Additionally the virus was found in wild birds in 10 Member States (Hungary, Poland, Germany, Croatia, Austria, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Romania), as well as in Switzerland. So far all affected countries took the necessary measures. For more information (including a map of the areas concerned), see here.
European Commission adopts rules to strengthen regulation of commodities markets
The European Commission has taken important steps today to strengthen the regulation of commodities markets and curb price speculation. It also ensures that firms active on these markets are regulated appropriately. In particular, the Commission is adopting regulatory standards that will define parameters for competent authorities to determine “position limits”, i.e. the maximum amount of commodity derivatives that can be held by a single trader, and which represent a tool to help to limit commodity speculation, support orderly pricing and prevent market abuse. The new rules also ensure that large non-financial firms trading a large amount of commodity derivatives are regulated under MiFID II (through the so called “ancillary activity test”). Today’s package completes the rulebook of secondary measures under the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, known as MIFID II, and gives market participants time to prepare for its application, as of 3 January 2018. The Council and the European Parliament now have three months to approve or object to the two standards. For more information, see our press release
Commission proposes new tax rules to support e-commerce and online businesses in the EU
The European Commission has today unveiled a series of measures to improve the Value Added Tax (VAT) environment for e-commerce businesses in the EU. Our proposals will allow consumers and companies, in particular start-ups and SMEs, to buy and sell goods and services more easily online. By introducing an EU wide portal for online VAT payments (the ‘One Stop Shop’), VAT compliance expenses will be significantly reduced, saving businesses across the EU €2.3 billion a year. The new rules will also ensure that VAT is paid in the Member State of the final consumer, leading to a fairer distribution of tax revenues amongst EU countries. Our proposals would help Member States to recoup the current estimated €5 billion of lost VAT on online sales every year. Estimated lost revenues are likely to reach €7 billion by 2020 and it is essential that we act now. Finally, the Commission is delivering on its pledge to enable Member States to apply the same VAT rate to e-publications such as e-books and online newspapers as for their printed equivalents, removing provisions that excluded e-publications from the favourable tax treatment allowed for traditional printed publications. For more information, see our press release, Q&A and factsheet as well as this blog post.
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