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EU listing of tax havens

21-10-2019

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax evasion or avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to disguise the origins of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists began with action to end harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically ...

Broadly speaking, 'tax havens' provide taxpayers, both legal and natural persons, with opportunities for tax evasion or avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serves to disguise the origins of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. One might ask why establishing a list of tax havens or high-risk countries is useful. Drawing up such lists began with action to end harmful tax practices arising from the discrepancy between the global reach of financial flows and the geographically limited scope of jurisdictions that match or exist inside national borders. However we refer to tax havens, they all have one thing in common: they allow individuals or organisations to escape from taxation. Distinctive characteristics of tax havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy. The latter two are key methods for hiding ultimate beneficial owners. In the EU, the process of adopting a common list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions was initiated as part of efforts to further good tax governance, and its external dimension. On 5 December 2017, the Council adopted a first common list resulting from the assessment of third countries against distinctive criteria. Pursuing the assessment process, the Council has updated the list on the basis of commitments received, while also reviewing countries that had not yet been assessed. This briefing updates an earlier one, from May 2018 – itself an updated and extended version of a briefing from December 2017: ‘Understanding the rationale for compiling “tax haven” lists', PE 614.633 – to take account of the changes in the lists since that date.

Use of financial data for preventing and combatting serious crime

19-07-2019

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The ...

On 17 April 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a directive intended to facilitate law enforcement authorities' access to and use of financial information held in other jurisdictions within the EU for investigations related to terrorism and other serious crime. The proposed directive would grant competent authorities direct access to bank account information contained in centralised registries set up in each Member State, according to the Fifth Anti-Money-Laundering Directive. The proposal also aims to strengthen domestic and cross-border exchange of information between EU Member States' competent authorities, including law enforcement authorities and financial intelligence units, as well as with Europol. The provisional agreement reached in February 2019 in interinstitutional negotiations was adopted by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019, followed by the Council on 14 June. On 20 June 2019, the directive was signed into law and then published in the Official Journal on 11 July. Member States have until 1 August 2021 to transpose its provisions into national law.

Common rules for the internal electricity market

12-07-2019

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for a recast directive on the internal market for electricity, as part of a comprehensive legislative package entitled 'Clean Energy for all Europeans'. The proposed directive would oblige Member States to ensure a more competitive, customer-centred, flexible and non-discriminatory EU electricity market with market-based supply prices. It would strengthen existing customer rights, introduce new ones and provide a framework ...

On 30 November 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative proposal for a recast directive on the internal market for electricity, as part of a comprehensive legislative package entitled 'Clean Energy for all Europeans'. The proposed directive would oblige Member States to ensure a more competitive, customer-centred, flexible and non-discriminatory EU electricity market with market-based supply prices. It would strengthen existing customer rights, introduce new ones and provide a framework for energy communities. Member States would have to monitor and address energy poverty. The proposal clarifies the tasks of distribution system operators and emphasises the obligation of neighbouring national regulators to cooperate on issues of cross-border relevance. The Council adopted its general approach in December 2017. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) adopted its report in February 2018. A provisional trilogue agreement was reached in December 2018. The European Parliament adopted the text in the March II 2019 plenary session and the Council on 22 May 2019. The Directive entered into force on 4 July 2019 and must be transposed into national legislation by 31 December 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Interoperability between EU border and security information systems

14-06-2019

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration ...

To enhance EU external border management and internal security, the European Commission has made several proposals to upgrade and expand European border and security information systems. As part of a broader process to maximise their use, the Commission presented legislative proposals for two regulations in December 2017 (amended in June 2018), establishing an interoperability framework between EU information systems on borders and visas, and on police and judicial cooperation, asylum and migration. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the Parliament and in the Council, the final acts were signed by the co-legislators on 20 May 2019 and published in the Official Journal two days later. Both acts came into force on 11 June 2019. The new rules aim to improve checks at the EU’s external borders, allow for better detection of security threats and identity fraud, and help in preventing and combating irregular migration. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Single market information tool (SMIT)

06-05-2019

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by price discrimination based on residency. While many market players do not cooperate with the Commission, for instance not disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. The SMIT proposal would provide the Commission with powers such as to request business-related information (e.g. cost structure or product volumes ...

Competition and consumer protection in the single market are often undermined by price discrimination based on residency. While many market players do not cooperate with the Commission, for instance not disclosing their pricing structure, Member States often do not have the means or the tools to collect and deliver the required information to the Commission. The SMIT proposal would provide the Commission with powers such as to request business-related information (e.g. cost structure or product volumes sold), and to address market failures in a more efficient way. The SMIT, however, has raised some criticism in the Council and EP, inter alia, because of the Commission’s choice of the legal basis for the proposal. Parliament’s Legal Service stated in an opinion that the correct legal basis for the Commission proposal is Article 337 TFEU: a legal basis which gives no legislative role for the EP. On 12 July 2018, the IMCO committee adopted a report which would amend the proposal’s legal basis. The JURI committee subsequently adopted an opinion stating that the Commission proposal goes beyond the powers available under the proposed revised legal basis. The report was initially due to be voted in plenary in October 2018, but was taken off the agenda. As the parliamentary term has concluded, the report has now lapsed. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Public country-by-country reporting by multinational enterprises

26-04-2019

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax ...

Tax transparency has gained particular importance as a tool in the fight against tax avoidance and tax evasion, particularly in the field of corporate income tax and aggressive tax planning. Cooperation between tax authorities aims at allowing them to obtain information covering the global business of multinational enterprises (MNEs), and progress has already been made in this area. A further step in tax transparency would be to broaden it by providing publicly available information relating to tax paid at the place where profits are actually made. Public country-by-country reporting (CBCR) is the publication of a defined set of facts and figures by large MNEs, thereby providing the public with a global picture of the taxes MNEs pay on their corporate income. The proposal is being considered by the European Parliament (EP) and the Council. In the EP, the amendments put forward by the ECON and JURI committees were voted on 4 July 2017. In the absence of a Council position enabling negotiations on the proposal, the Parliament adopted its position at first reading in plenary on 27 March 2019. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Mutual recognition of goods

25-04-2019

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product ...

The revision of the regulation on mutual recognition of goods was announced in the 2015 Single Market Strategy. The Commission adopted its proposal in December 2017, which aimed to revise previous rules dating from 2008. This regulation aims to improve the rules governing the trade of goods in the single market. Intra-EU trade remains twice as big as extra-EU trade, and is rising constantly. This is, in large part, due to free movement of goods in the EU, which is based on either harmonised product rules at the EU level or, where there are no harmonised rules, the principle of mutual recognition under which goods lawfully marketed in one Member State may be sold in another Member State. The proposal addressed a number of shortcomings in the application of the mutual recognition principle. A provisional agreement between the co-legislators was reached on 22 November 2018. The text was adopted in plenary in February 2019. The new rules will improve collaboration among national authoritites and enhance the role of national product contact points. They will introduce a faster problem-solving procedure for disputes between companies and national authorities, as well as a new voluntary declaration to be filled in by economic operators to prove lawful marketing in an EU Member State. The new rules will apply from 19 April 2020. Fourth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Revision of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) Directive

25-04-2019

On 31 May 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union. It was presented within the context of the Commission's first 'Europe on the Move' package that seeks to modernise mobility and transport. Tying in with the 2015 energy union strategy and the Commission's 2016 European strategy for low emission mobility, and announced in the 2017 ...

On 31 May 2017, the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive on the interoperability of electronic road toll systems and facilitating cross-border exchange of information on the failure to pay road fees in the Union. It was presented within the context of the Commission's first 'Europe on the Move' package that seeks to modernise mobility and transport. Tying in with the 2015 energy union strategy and the Commission's 2016 European strategy for low emission mobility, and announced in the 2017 Commission work programme, the revision of the European Electronic Tolling Service (EETS) was presented together with the revision of the directive on the charging of heavy goods vehicles for the use of certain infrastructures (the Eurovignette Directive). Interinstitutional (trilogue) negotiations concluded on 20 November 2018. The agreed text was formally adopted by Parliament on 14 February 2019 and by Council on 4 March 2019. The final act was then published in the Official Journal on 29 March 2019. Member States now have until 19 October 2021 to apply the directive’s measures in their national laws.

Boosting cooperation on health technology assessment

15-04-2019

The European Commission has proposed a regulation on health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a research-based tool that supports decision-making in healthcare by assessing the added value of a given health technology compared to others. The proposal would provide the basis for permanent EU-level cooperation in four areas. Member States would still be responsible for assessing the non-clinical (economic, ethical, social, etc.) aspects of health technology, and for pricing and reimbursement. While ...

The European Commission has proposed a regulation on health technology assessment (HTA). HTA is a research-based tool that supports decision-making in healthcare by assessing the added value of a given health technology compared to others. The proposal would provide the basis for permanent EU-level cooperation in four areas. Member States would still be responsible for assessing the non-clinical (economic, ethical, social, etc.) aspects of health technology, and for pricing and reimbursement. While Member States could choose to delay participation in the joint work until three years after the rules enter into force, it would become mandatory after six years. Stakeholders have broadly welcomed the proposal. National parliaments, however, are divided in their appreciation of it. The Council has not yet agreed its position; technical discussions continue. Parliament's Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety adopted its report on 13 September 2018, and the report was voted in plenary on 3 October. However, with interinstitutional trilogue negotiations unable to start, on the Council side, Parliament adopted its final position at first reading on 14 February 2019.

European Labour Authority

08-04-2019

The rapid increase in the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than their own, the large number of daily cross-border commuters and the need for information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad have led the European Commission to propose the creation of a European-level coordinating body. The European Labour Authority (ELA) would replace, reorganise, or cooperate with existing structures dealing with information for individuals and employers, mediate between national ...

The rapid increase in the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than their own, the large number of daily cross-border commuters and the need for information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad have led the European Commission to propose the creation of a European-level coordinating body. The European Labour Authority (ELA) would replace, reorganise, or cooperate with existing structures dealing with information for individuals and employers, mediate between national labour authorities and social security bodies, and gather viable data on posted workers and commuters. According to the provisional agreement between the Council and the Parliament, reached on 26 February 2019, the main tasks of the ELA will be to facilitate access to information, enhance cooperation, and coordinate and support concerted and joint inspections. Furthermore, the ELA, in cooperation with Member States and social partner organisations, will assess risks and carry out analyses regarding labour mobility and social security coordination. The ELA may also conclude cooperation agreements with other relevant Union agencies. The European Parliament is due to vote on the provisional agreement in plenary in April 2019.

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