18 Mar 2015
EUROPEAN COMMISSION DAILY NEWS – 18 MARCHBrussels Daily
EUROSTAT: Euro area international trade in goods surplus €7.9 bn – €10.6 bn deficit for EU28
The first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in January 2015 was €148.2 billion, nearly stable compared with January 2014 (€148.8 bn). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €140.3 bn, a fall of 6% compared with January 2014 (€148.7 bn). As a result, the euro area recorded a €7.9 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in January 2015, compared with +€0.1 bn in January 2014. Intra-euro area trade fell to €130.5 bn in January 2015, -5% compared with January 2014. Eurostat release available here.
Agriculture: 150 million euro approved for the School Fruit Scheme
The national allocation of the 150 million euro of EU funds for the School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme in 2015-16, proposed by the European Commission, was accepted by Member States. This scheme aims at distributing portions of fruit and vegetables in schools, potentially reaching 12 million children aged 6 to 10 years old across the 25 participating Member States. It was established in 2009 to reverse the trend of declining fruit and vegetables consumption by specifically addressing children. In turn, higher fruit and vegetables consumption is also supporting efforts to establish healthier eating habits amongst school children. Nutrition plays an important role in combating health problems related to poor nutrition, such as child obesity. Since 2014, the scheme also co-funds accompanying educational measures to explain the potential benefits. More information can be found here.
Combatting corporate tax avoidance: Commission presents a first Tax Transparency Package
The European Commission today presented a package of tax transparency measures as part of its ambitious agenda to tackle corporate tax avoidance and harmful tax competition in the EU. This marks the start of a new era of transparency. Today’s package includes a legislative proposal introducing the automatic exchange of information between Member States on their tax rulings and a communication outlining a number of other initiatives to advance the tax transparency agenda in the EU. “Everyone has to pay their fair share of tax. This applies to multinationals as to everyone else. With today’s proposal on the automatic exchange of information, tax authorities would be able to better identify loopholes or duplication of tax between Member States. In the coming months, we will put forward concrete actions to tackle such loopholes or overlaps. We are committed to following up on our promises with real, credible and fair action,” said Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue. Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Tolerance has reached rock-bottom for companies that avoid paying their fair share of taxes, and for the regimes that enable them to do this. We have to rebuild the link between where companies really make their profits and where they are taxed. To do this, Member States need to open up and work together. That is what today’s Tax Transparency Package aims to achieve.” Corporate tax avoidance is thought to deprive EU Member States’ public budgets of billions of euros a year. It also undermines fair burden-sharing among tax-payers and fair competition between businesses. Companies rely on the complexity of tax rules and the lack of cooperation between Member States to shift profits and minimise their taxes. Therefore, boosting transparency and cooperation is vital in the battle against aggressive tax planning and abusive tax practices. Today’s Tax Transparency Package aims to ensure that Member States are equipped with the information they need to protect their tax bases and effectively target companies that try to escape paying their fair share of taxes. The press release is available in all EU languages here. More information of today’s texts can also be found in an online Fact sheet. The speaking points used by Commissioner Moscovici are available here.
Read full edition: Daily News 18 – 03 – 2015