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News from the EU January 2020

By January 30, 2020July 10th, 2021No Comments

On 22 January, the Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić discussed the Croatian Presidency’s priorities for the next six months with MEPs of the ECON Committee…

European Commission

Croatian finance minister discusses Presidency priorities with ECON

On 22 January, the Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić discussed the Croatian Presidency’s priorities for the next six months with MEPs of the ECON Committee.

On taxation, the minister emphasised that the Presidency’s work will depend on how soon the European Commission will develop new proposals – including the tax elements of the European Green Deal.

For pending tax files, Croatia intends to give new momentum to technical discussions on CCCTB, but the minister. The Presidency will also seek to progress on the definitive VAT regime.

The MEP Paul Tang (S&D/Netherlands) asked about public country by country reporting (CBCR). The minister did not promise that the file would be added on the finance ministers’ agenda. However, at least he committed that the Presidency will try to find solutions to the ongoing impasse. As a reminder, Croatia was one of the 12 member states to oppose the proposal at the end of last year.


‘Jury is still out’ on EU’s carbon border tax, EU trade Commissioner says

The EU’s trade Commissioner, Phil Hogan, has confirmed that no details on a planned carbon border tax (CBT) should be expected before late-2020 to early-2021.

The Commission is currently in the process of conducting an impact assessment on how a CBT could be implemented. It is also consulting interested parties on the matter.

However, there is still clear continuing political momentum from the Commission on green taxes. For example, on 23 January Executive Vice-President Timmermans called on EU countries to tax carbon


The European commission (EC) has published Explanatory Notes on the EU VAT changes in respect of call-off stock arrangements, chain transactions and the exemption for intra-Community supplies of goods (‘2020 Quick Fixes’).

They can be found here:


EU VAT Forum endorses report on prevention of VAT double tax disputes


European Parliament

European Parliament finalises its position on special VAT scheme for SMEs

On 15 January, the European Parliament adopted its final position on the special VAT scheme for SMEs proposal. The position passed in Plenary with 592 votes in favour, 22 votes against and 51 abstentions. The file in the Parliament was led by the MEP Inese Vaidere (EPP/Latvia).

The Parliament had already adopted a first opinion in September 2018 but the EU Council decided to consult it again due to the substantial changes it made to the European Commission’s initial proposal, in its position in November 2019.

The European Parliament decided, however, not to comment on the Council position, and with this vote paved the way for the Council position to become EU law.


European Parliament confirms positions on two anti-VAT fraud files

On 17 December, the European Parliament approved its positions on two proposals: to improve administrative cooperation in the fight against VAT fraud and to introduce new requirements for payment service providers. Both files were led in the Parliament by the MEP Lídia Pereira (EPP/Portugal).

The Parliament’s positions are non-binding, but its opinion is needed in order for the Member States to be able to adopt the files.


Member states adopt proposal to exempt EU defence efforts from VAT

On 16 December, EU member states adopted the Commission’s proposal to grant VAT exemptions for EU defence cooperation under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

The text as agreed by EU member states introduces no significant changes to the Commission proposal. The text only makes clarifications and specifies that the exemptions should not cover civilian missions under the CSDP.



Germany publishes new compromise text on FTT

On 9 December, Germany proposed a new financial transaction tax (FTT) compromise, in an attempt to unlock the stalled negotiations.

The text remains close to the French model, with a 0,2% tax rate and limited to buying or selling of shares of listed companies with a market capitalisation of over EUR 1 billion.

Newer elements include excluding IPOs and leaving it to each country to decide whether to tax private pension products – a key demand of Belgium.

The German proposal was criticised from the left for not going far enough whilst the right fears that the FTT would hamper investment.

The ten EU countries negotiating on the FTT have yet to agree on how the tax yields would be divided between them.


Croatian Presidency publishes its priorities, including on tax

Croatia began its six-month rotating Council Presidency in January 2020, and published its work priorities.

For tax, there are very few concrete commitments. The Presidency will work towards a “modern tax system” that is “based on transparent, efficient and sustainable taxation procedures” and legal certainty.

It will also “continue discussions on priorities and further steps to be taken in the area of direct and indirect taxation”.

According to a very provisional timetable, Croatia plans a debate between EU finance ministers on VAT definitive regime and VAT rates reform at the 17 March ECOFIN.


CJEU – Rulings

C707/18: Taxing transactions for the transfer of ownership of immovable property

C715/18: Reduced VAT rate to the letting of places on camping or caravan sites