At their last meeting under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, EU finance ministers finalised the work on three dossiers in the area of Value Added Tax (VAT), thus moving towards a more efficient VAT system at EU level. With Bulgaria’s Minister of Finance Vladislav Goranov as chair, ministered agreed on measures to strengthen the administrative cooperation and fight against fraud in the area of VAT, agreed to make permanent the 15 % minimum standard VAT rate currently in place and approved a cooperation agreement with Norway in the area of VAT.
The newly agreed measures to strengthen the administrative cooperation in the area of VAT will make it possible to tackle cross-border VAT fraud schemes across the EU more quickly and more efficiently. The new rules will help prevent losses of tax revenue of some €150-160 billion annually, of which €50 billion are due to cross-border fraud alone.
Commenting on this success, minister Goranov said:
“Improving cooperation between our tax administrations is essential if we are to clamp down on tax fraud. Unacceptably high amounts of VAT revenue are being lost, and this directive will help fix the problem.”
The second decision for the day, to make permanent the 15 % minimum standard VAT rate currently in place, will help protect fair competition and trade among our Member States, especially in cross-border regions, thus safeguarding jobs and growth in the EU.
The agreement with Norway, which was signed in Sofia on 6 February 2018, will enable the EU and Norway to work more actively together to prevent VAT fraud and assist each other in the recovery of VAT claims.
Ministers today also spoke about the Banking Union. Thanks to the relentless efforts of the Bulgarian Presidency, in May ministers reached a deal on the package of risk-reduction measures in the banking sector. The debate today focused on the risk-sharing part of the Banking Union, the European Deposit Insurance Scheme (EDIS), and more concretely of the progress that the Bulgarian Presidency made at technical level over the past six months. Traditionally for their June meeting, ministers looked into the European Semester exercise for 2018. They decided to close the excessive deficit procedure for France, confirming that its deficit has dropped below the EU's 3% of GDP reference value. As a consequence, 23 of the 24 procedures that were open at the height of the euro crisis have now been closed.
Following the ECOFIN meeting, Mr Goranov gave a press conference, in which Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis also took part.
More information about the outcome of today's meeting is available here.
Pictures and videos can be found here.