On Tuesday 23 October, the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire gave a speech before the ECON and TAX3 committees of the European Parliament pleading in favour of the Commission’s proposal for a 3% tax on the revenues of certain activities of digital platforms. Le Maire told the MEPs about the progress made so far, highlighting that only few countries are now opposing the proposal (with Ireland and Sweden at the top of the list). He also clarified that the Digital Services Tax “does not specifically target the United States” answering to the letter sent from US authorities to European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Several MEPs asked him about the progress on the CCTB and CCCTB and the minister explained that he considers these dossiers complementary to the Digital Services Tax. In the meantime, on 19 October, the Spanish government approved the 2019 Budget Plan which contains, amongst others, a draft of tax on certain digital services that largely follows the one proposed by the European Commission in March.
On Wednesday 24 October, the European Parliament approved by a large majority (556 votes to 51 and 23 abstentions) the draft report by Miguel Viegas (GUE/NGL, Portugal) on the updated rules on the excise duty structure applicable to alcohol. The adopted text included the amendment made by EPP to exclude ingredients added after fermentation from the measurement of the “degree Plato”. According to the Brewers of Europe, this amendment will help avoid discrimination against flavoured beers.
On Tuesday 23 October, several MEPs called for a European solution in response to the recent revelations of the CumEx Files scandal. Their proposal is to extend the scope of application of the European rules on the automatic exchange of tax information to share dividends. The Commissioner of Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici considers that the idea deserves to be explored but this will take time and the legislative period is ending soon.