Brussels Daily
13 Oct 2014


Brussels Daily

Commission report points to opportunities to improve national tax systems

Today the Commission published the report: “Tax reforms in EU Member States 2014 – Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability”. It provides an annual review of the most important tax reforms implemented by EU Member States and identifies the main tax policy challenges they are facing. To this end the report – which was prepared jointly by the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs and the Directorate General for Taxation and Customs Union – inter alia explores ways to make tax structures more growth-friendly. The tax burden on labour in the EU is relatively high. Reducing this burden, for example by shifting to other revenue bases less detrimental to growth, can have positive consequences on growth and employment. The report also takes an in-depth look at the size of tax bases, analysing housing taxation, incentives for debt financing in corporate taxation, tax expenditures in direct taxation and the VAT base. Moreover, the report examines three specific items: environmental taxes, tax compliance and tax administration, and the effect of tax systems on recent developments in income equality. You can find the report on the websites of DG ECFIN and DG TAXUD .

European Commission and data industry launch €2.5 billion partnership to master big data

The European Commission and Europe’s data industry have committed to invest €2.5 billion in a public-private partnership (PPP) that aims to strengthen the data sector and put Europe at the forefront of the global data race. A Memorandum of Understanding to set up the PPP on big data will be signed today by European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes and President of the Big Data Value Association , Jan Sundelin, who acts on behalf of companies including ATOS, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Orange, SAP, SIEMENS, and research bodies such as Fraunhofer and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence. The EU has earmarked over €500 million of investment over 5 years (2016-2020) from Horizon 2020 which private partners are expected to match at least four times over (€2 billion). See also MEMO/14/583 .

President Barroso welcomes Prime Minister Nguyen Tang Dung of Vietnam

Today, President Barroso welcomes the Prime Minister Nguyen Tang Dung of Vietnam for a working lunch at the European Commission. Leaders will discuss Vietnam’s domestic situation including human rights, economic recovery in the EU, state of play of the FTA negotiations, PCA including ratification process. Regional issues, in particular the Asia-Europe Summit, ASEAN, South China Sea/East Sea, Ukraine and Middle East.

After the working lunch, President Barroso and the Prime Minister of Vietnam will together witness the signing of the cover letter of the EU-Vietnam Multiannual Indicative programme for 2014-2020 by Commissioner Piebalgs and the Vice-Minister for Planning and Investment, Mr Nguyen Chi Dung.

A press point will take place at 14:30 CET and will be live broadcast via EBS .

Other news

EU pledges more than €450 million for reconstructing Gaza

Representing the European Union at the “Conference on Palestine, Reconstructing Gaza” in Cairo yesterday, High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton has announced the EU’s pledge of more than €450 million euros for the reconstruction of Gaza. The HR/VP underlined that “the only durable solution to the situation in Gaza, which is in everyone’s interest, is a political one. Our efforts for Gaza will be successful only if placed in the larger framework of our support to Palestine and our commitment to the peace process”. The EU is the largest aid contributor to the Palestinians, with substantial support for the benefit of the Gaza population: in the last ten years the EU has spent more than €1.3bn in the Gaza Strip.

For more information, please refer to the EEAS press release.

Taxation: New web portal to prepare businesses for new VAT rules

Today the Commission has launched a web portal to help businesses to adapt to the change in VAT rules that will enter into force in 2015. From 1 January, new VAT rules come into effect for businesses selling telecommunications, broadcasting and electronic services to final consumers. VAT will be charged where the customer is based, rather than where the supplier is located. These new rules will ensure a more level playing field for businesses and fairer taxation rights amongst Member States (see IP/14/758). In addition, a “Mini One Stop Shop” will take effect. This will allow companies to make a single VAT declaration and payment in their own Member State for all their intra-EU transactions. The Mini One Stop Shop will, therefore, greatly simplify the VAT obligations for companies as they comply with the new place of supply rules. The web portal launched today will facilitate businesses that opt to use the Mini One Stop Shop, by providing information about the various VAT rules across the EU. Member states have different standard VAT rates, different reduced rates and different exemptions. The web portal is the solution to ensure that businesses aren’t overwhelmed when trying to figure out the VAT rate that should apply to their sale. It is part of the continual and consistent effort made by the Commission over the past few years to ensure that the new VAT rules are introduced as smoothly as possible, and that businesses are fully equipped for the change. The VAT MOSS portal is on the Commission’s website: Telecommunications, broadcasting & electronic services – European commission

Commissioner Vassiliou participates in official opening of the EU Youth Conference, Rome

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commission for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, is one of the main speakers at the EU Youth Conference taking place in Rome today. The event, organised by the Italian Presidency of the EU, will launch the latest cycle of the ‘Structured Dialogue’, which enables young people to have their say on EU decision-making regarding youth issues. The latest round of the dialogue with youth representatives will focus on youth empowerment, including access to rights, political participation and active citizenship. A new approach for conducting the Structured Dialogue was endorsed by EU Youth Ministers in May. The idea is to put greater emphasis on a single theme for the consultation during the 18-month cycle. The Youth Conference gathers some 200 youth representatives and officials from national youth ministries from all EU Member States. They will establish a ‘guiding framework’ for the upcoming consultation and discuss young people’s access to rights.

To find out more: European Commission:Youth ; European Youth Portal ; Androulla Vassiliou’s website

What Commissioners said

President Barroso visited Naples (10/11 October)

During his visit to Naples on 10-11 October President Barroso underlined the importance of EU funding for investments in growth and jobs in Europe. Italy alone receives almost 44 billion euros from the Structural and Investment Funds between 2014-2020. President Barroso expressed his hope that Italy will make best possible use of it to help its economic development, notably in the South, stressing that Italy so far has absorbed a relatively small share of EU funds from the period 2007-2013. He visited the EU-cofunded Pompeii project, which supports the Italian efforts to preserve this cultural jewel with 78 million euros from the EU budget. The President also delivered a major speech at the Università Suor Orsola Benincasa followed by a discussion with citizens. In this context he warned of seeing Europe as a foreign power and nationalising successes while attributing failure to the EU. He also talked about the need for Italy to pursue growth-friendly fiscal consolidation and implement structural reforms, praising the government of Prime Minister Renzi, which has started implementing important reforms such as the labour market reform (“Jobs Act”). While stressing the need for Germany to use its fiscal space to do more for growth and investments in line with the EU’s Country-specific recommendations, he also made clear that Italy’s economic problems and its competitiveness challenges should not be blamed on Berlin. He finally explained the considerable political and financial support the EU is providing to Italy to cope with the migratory pressure in the Mediterranean.

Watch the speech and discussion at Università Suor Orsola Benincasa online.

Read a summary of the interview with Il Mattino .

Read the press statement in Pompeii in English and Italian .

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