On May 22, 2013, in Brussels at a Meeting of the European Council several propositions have been made in order to improve the policies of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as the “EU”) regarding the price of the Energy supplies, the regulation of the issue and future development of the sector, as well as regarding the measures against tax fraud and tax evasion.
Some of the more significant propositions are as follows:
The main purpose of the EU’s energy policies is to ensure security of supply for households and companies at affordable prices and in a safe and sustainable manner. In regards of this purpose, the European Council considers that particular attention must be paid to the quick and effective implementation of the European legislation, including the Directive on the promotion of renewable energies, as well as stepping up the role and rights of consumers, including change of suppliers, improved energy efficiency and own energy generation, but also and foremost the protection of vulnerable consumers.
The Commission intends to report on progress on implementation of the internal energy market early in 2014, whereas the Member States shall be obliged to exchange information regarding major national energy decisions, while fully respecting national choices of energy mix.
The European Council believes that significant investments in new and intelligent energy infrastructure are needed to secure the uninterrupted supply of energy at affordable prices. The financing should primarily come from the market.
It remains crucial to further intensify the diversification of EU’s energy supply and develop new energy resources to ensure security of supply, reduce the external energy dependency and stimulate economic growth. To that end, the European Council considers that, inter alia, the following measure must be taken – the development of renewable energy sources, while ensuring the lowest possible cost, further market integration and grid stability and building on the experience in some Member States, which have heavily invested in renewable energy technologies.
At last but not least, the European Council pays attention to energy efficiency and considers that measures in this perspective may lead to reversing current trends in energy prices and costs. The implementation of the Directives on energy efficiency and on energy performance of buildings is of crucial importance.
The European Council considers that it is important to take effective steps to fight tax fraud and tax evasion, particularly in the current context of fiscal consolidation, in order to protect public revenues and ensure public confidence in the fairness and effectiveness of tax systems.In order to achieve that purpose, a priority must be given to extension of automatic exchange of information at the EU and global levels. At the level of EU, the Commission intends to propose amendments to the Directive on administrative cooperation in June in order for the automatic exchange of information to cover a full range of income. As for the global exchange of information, the European Council welcomes the efforts made in the G8, G20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) to develop a global standard.
The European Council considers that before the end of the year, the revised Directive on the taxation of savings income must be adopted.
In order to counter effectively VAT frauds, the European Council expects the Council to adopt the Directives on the quick reaction mechanism and on the reverse charge mechanism by the end of June 2013 at the latest.Regarding the need of measures against tax fraud and tax evasion, as well as against money laundering within the internal market and vis-à-vis non-cooperative third countries, the European Council proposes to be adopted the revision of the third anti-money laundering Directive.
The Council will report back on progress on all these issues by December 2013.
The article above is intended for information purposes only by drawing your attention to the newest practice of the European Council. It should not be construed as (binding) legal advice. For a thorough understanding of the subjects covered and prior acting on any issue discussed we kindly recommend Readers consult Ilieva, Voutcheva & Co. Law Firm attorneys at law.