Weekly Tax News – 2 December 2019

COMPET Council stops public country-by-country reporting

On 28 November, the Competitiveness Council discussed the proposal on country-by-country reporting (CbCr), which would require companies to publicly disclose certain accounting data. During the discussion, 12 Member States have declared their opposition to the proposal, namely: Luxembourg, Latvia, Slovenia, Ireland, Estonia, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Cyprus and Malta. Therefore, the qualified majority required for approving the proposal could not be achieved, thus an official vote did not take place. Furthermore, ten of these countries (with the exception of Croatia and Austria) have signed a joint declaration stating that the proposal should be negotiated as a tax text within the ECOFIN on simple consultation of the European Parliament.

Von der Leyen’s mandate has officially started

On 27 November, the Members of the European Parliament have adopted, by a large majority (461 votes in favour, 157 against and 89 abstentions) the von der Leyen Commission. The new Commission, which was approved by a majority larger than the one obtained in 2014 by Juncker, has officially taken office on 1 December. All the members of the EPP group voted in favour of the Commission. Renew Europe and S&D were more divided but supported the Commission by a majority. The Greens/EFA mainly abstained, whilst GUE/NGL and ID MEPs voted against the new Commission. The deputies of ECR were free to vote and were deeply divided between supporters, abstainers and opposers.

Commission refers Poland to Court of Justice regarding energy taxation

On 27 November, the European Commission has decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice for non-compliance with the Energy Taxation Directive. Under Polish legislation, certain energy products used by energy intensive businesses falling under the European Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) are exempt from excise duty. According to the European Commission, this rule runs against EU climate objectives and generates major distortions of competition within the EU. The decision to refer Poland to the Court of Justice follows a letter of formal notice sent on 8 March 2018  and a reasoned opinion delivered on 25 July 2019.

European Parliament adopts VAT and excise duties exemption for armed forces supplies

On 26 November, the European Parliament adopted the draft report on the proposal for a directive on the exemption of VAT and excise duties for supplies to armed forces participating in a European defence effort. The adopted report was prepared by the rapporteur Paul Tang (S&D, the Netherlands). The directive seeks to harmonize the VAT system applicable to defence efforts within the framework of the EU and NATO. The Council already adopted its position at the ECOFIN on 8 November.

France backs OECD international tax proposals

On 26 November, during a speech at the OECD Global Forum on Tax Transparency, the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire endorsed the OECD’s Pillar 1 proposal to overhaul global tax rules. Furthermore, he expressed hope that other countries, in particular China and the US, would approve the OECD’s proposal on global corporate tax laws. Finally, regarding Pillar 2, he recalled that countries still had to agree on the method of taxation and the tax rate. However, he pointed out that a tax rate of “12.5% seems to be a good starting point and reference point for a minimum corporate tax rate”.

ETAF Conference on 5 December 2019

Don’t miss out the opportunity to join the ETAF Conference on “Future dynamics of EU tax policy” on 5 December 2019 in Brussels. Take a look at our programme and send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register; there are still few seats available!