Chapter News

Boosting tax transparency in the EU and preparation of European Council

The College adopted a proposal which will further reinforce the EU’s tax transparency framework and discussed the preparation of the June European Council.

New transparency rules for tax planning intermediaries

Recent events such as the Panama Papers revelations have exposed how some intermediaries actively assist companies and individuals to escape taxation, usually through complex cross-border schemes.

This is the reason why the European Commission has today proposed tough new transparency rules for intermediaries – such as tax advisors, accountants, banks and lawyers – who design and promote tax planning schemes for their clients. This initiative is part of the Juncker Commission’s far-reaching agenda to increase tax transparency and tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion.

The proposal aims to curb such aggressive tax planning by increasing scrutiny around the previously-unseen activities of tax planners and advisers. Cross-border tax planning schemes bearing certain characteristics which can result in losses for governments will now have to be automatically reported to the tax authorities before they are used. The Commission has identified key issues, including the use of losses to reduce tax liability, the use of special beneficial tax regimes, or arrangements through countries that do not meet international good governance standards. The new rules are comprehensive, covering all intermediaries, all potentially harmful schemes and all Member States.

Preparation of European Council

The College prepared the June European Council (22-23 June). EU leaders will discuss a range of topics including migration, the economy, security and defence, climate change and Digital Europe. The Commission’s contribution includes, among others, four progress reports on measures taken under the European Agenda on Migration to stabilise the flows and better manage the external borders but also concrete proposals at European level to improve the security of citizens.

At 27, EU leaders will also discuss and decide on the procedure and the criteria for the relocation of two EU agencies from London (the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority).  

Death of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl

At the College meeting President Juncker paid tribute to former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl: “We have lost a great man, a true friend, and the Chancellor of German reunification,” President Juncker said. To honour the legacy of Dr. Helmut Kohl, Honorary Citizen of Europe, the three European institutions are co-organising a European Ceremony of Honour on 1 July in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This will be followed by a ceremonial event in the cathedral in Speyer (Germany).

Future of EU finances by 2025

The College also held an orientation debate on the future of EU finances by 2025. Commissioners Oettinger and Crețu introduced the debate and outlined the key issues to be tackled, including the timing of the Commission’s proposals on the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

Solidarity with Italy

The Commission proposed to mobilise €1.2 billion under the EU Solidarity Fund, the highest sum ever mobilised in a single instalment, following the earthquakes of 2016 and 2017 in the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche and Umbria. From day one, the Commission provided support to address the immediate emergency situation and committed to stand side by side with Italy and its people throughout the entire reconstruction process. Today’s proposal is yet another concrete delivery on this promise.

Compliments of the European Parliament