Embracing the digital transition to help fight VAT fraud and support EU businesses

The European Commission today proposed a series of measures to modernise and make the EU’s Value-Added Tax (VAT) system work better for businesses and more resilient to fraud by embracing and promoting digitalisation. Today’s proposal also aims to address challenges in the area of VAT raised by the development of the platform economy.

Member States lost €93 billion in VAT revenues in 2020 according to the latest VAT Gap figures also published today. Conservative estimates suggest that one quarter of the missing revenues can be attributed directly to VAT fraud linked to intra-EU trade. These losses are clearly detrimental to overall public finances at a time when Member States are adjusting budgets to deal with the social and economic effects of recent energy price spikes and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. In addition, VAT arrangements in the EU can still be burdensome for businesses, especially for SMEs, and other companies who operate or are looking to scale-up cross-border. Continue reading “Embracing the digital transition to help fight VAT fraud and support EU businesses”

International Procurement Instrument : Council gives green light to new rules promoting reciprocity

The Council adopted a regulation to promote reciprocity in access to international public procurement markets.

This legislative act will enable us to introduce a new trade policy tool to ensure access and a level playing field for EU companies on third countries’ public procurement markets, thereby increasing business opportunities for these companies. Public procurement currently accounts for 15 to 20% of global GDP.

The EU’s public procurement markets are among the largest worldwide in terms of value and are broadly open to competition. But European companies do not always have equal access to procurement markets in non-EU countries, where they are often subject to discriminatory restrictive practices. Fewer than half of the world’s public procurement markets are currently open to European companies. Continue reading “International Procurement Instrument : Council gives green light to new rules promoting reciprocity”

EU should crack down on breaches of the rule of law

Disbursement of EU funds, including the Recovery Fund, must be tied to respect for the rule of law in all Member States. Systematic deficiencies in the rule of law always undermine the implementation of EU-funded programmes, and the absence of a rapid and comprehensive EU response to this will jeopardise the EU’s credibility, warns the EESC

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has taken a tough stance on breaches of the rule of law in the EU, declaring it is committed to ensuring that the Council of the European Union and the European Commission impose high dissuasive penalties on Member States which systematically disrespect the rule of law in a way that puts the EU budget at risk.

In the own-initiative opinion Rule of law and the recovery fund adopted at its plenary session on 20 January, the EESC welcomed the EU’s Regulation 2020/2092, which enables the Commission to impose financial penalties for systematic shortcomings in the rule of law in a given EU country, and called for the regulation to be applied strictly in all areas that are relevant to the budget. Continue reading “EU should crack down on breaches of the rule of law”