Procedure : 2008/0051(CNS)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0417/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0417/2008

Debates :

PV 17/11/2008 - 23
CRE 17/11/2008 - 23

Votes :

PV 18/11/2008 - 7.14
CRE 18/11/2008 - 7.14
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0541

REPORT     *
PDF 289kWORD 652k
21.10.2008
PE 407.726v03-00 A6-0417/2008

on the proposal for a Council directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty

(COM(2008)0078 – C6‑0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS))

Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

Rapporteur: Astrid Lulling

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 PROCEDURE

DRAFT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION

on the proposal for a Council directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty

(COM(2008)0078 – C6‑0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS))

(Consultation procedure)

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the Commission proposal to the Council (COM(2008)0078),

–   having regard to Article 93 of the EC Treaty, pursuant to which the Council consulted Parliament (C6‑0099/2008),

–   having regard to Rule 51 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6‑0417/2008),

1.  Approves the Commission proposal as amended;

2.  Calls on the Commission to alter its proposal accordingly, pursuant to Article 250(2) of the EC Treaty;

3.  Calls on the Council to notify Parliament if it intends to depart from the text approved by Parliament;

4.  Asks the Council to consult Parliament again if it intends to amend the Commission proposal substantially;

5.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council and the Commission.

Amendment  1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(2a) To enhance the functioning of the internal market, further efforts should be made to come to a gradual harmonisation of excise duty within the European Union, while taking into account matters such as public health, the protection of the environment and budgetary considerations.

Justification

A gradual harmonisation of excise duty within the European Union in the medium term would be the best remedy to enhance the functioning of the Internal Market. This should however be done in relation to Members States policy objectives to discourage the consumption of excise goods (alcoholic beverages, manufactured tobacco and energy products).

Amendment 2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) Excise goods may be subject to other indirect taxes for specific purposes. In that case, however, and in order not to jeopardise the useful effect of Community rules relating to indirect taxes, Member States should comply with certain essential elements of those rules.

(4) Excise goods may be subject to other indirect taxes for specific purposes. In that case, however, and in order not to jeopardise the useful effect of Community rules relating to indirect taxes, Member States should comply with certain essential elements of those rules, namely those relating to the tax base and calculation, and tax chargeability and monitoring.

Justification

With a view to avoiding any ambiguity and unwarranted interpretation problems, the recitals need to include a reference to the main elements of Community law on indirect taxation.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4a) When implementing this Directive Member States should take into account the need to ensure a high level of human health protection.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(9) Since excise duty is a tax on the consumption of certain goods, duty should not be charged in respect of excise goods which have been destroyed or irretrievably lost, irrespective of the circumstances of the destruction or loss.

(9) Since excise duty is a tax on the consumption of certain goods, duty should not be charged in respect of excise goods which have indisputably been destroyed or irretrievably lost, irrespective of the circumstances of the destruction or loss.

Justification

Clarification. Given that the term 'irretrievably lost' is used, it also needs to be clear exactly what is meant by 'destroyed'. This provision will apply only where there is absolutely certainty as to the goods' destruction.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 21 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(21a) In order to ensure the efficient operation of the computerised system, Member States should adopt within their national applications a uniform data set and structure in order to provide a reliable interface for economic operators.

Justification

This amendment seeks to make the case for a harmonised, possibly in the medium term, a single pan-European electronic system to administer businesses. Any deviation by the Member States away from creating a uniform interface to their national EMCS applications may result in economic operators having to produce multiple interface types within their systems, resulting in additional cost and time delays.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 24

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(24) It is necessary to determine the procedures to be used in a case in which the computerised system is not available.

(24) It is necessary to determine the procedures to be used in a case in which the computerised system is not available through no fault of the operators involved in the movement of excise goods or for reasons outside their control.

Justification

Clarification. Under the current wording, unavailability of the computerised system subjectively attributable to an operator may be deemed grounds for application of fallback procedures.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a directive

Recital 28 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(28a) In the case of products that are subject to excise duty because they are acquired by private individuals for their own use and transported by them, the quantity of the excise goods should be specified.

Justification

This amendment should be considered in conjunction with the one tabled to article 30. It seeks to lay down guide levels for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.

Amendment  8

Proposal for a directive

Recital 36

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(36) In order to allow a period of adjustment to the electronic control system for the movement of goods under suspension of excise duty, Member States should be able to benefit from a transitional period during which such movement may continue to be carried out subject to the formalities laid down by Directive 92/12/EEC.

(36) In order to allow a period of adjustment to the electronic control system for the movement of goods under suspension of excise duty, Member States should be able to benefit from a transitional period during which such movement may continue to be carried out subject to the formalities laid down by Directive 92/12/EEC. The length of the transitional period should be set with due regard to the feasibility of in fact introducing the computerised system in the individual Member States.

Justification

Experience in the Member States has shown that computerising administrative procedures and making the necessary digitised documents available can run into legal and organisational problems, as well as difficulties in changing mentalities.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4a) 'importation of excise goods' means the entry of excise goods onto the territory of the Community -, unless those excise goods have, upon their entry into the Community, been placed under a customs suspensive procedure or arrangement - or the release of excise goods from any such customs suspension procedure or arrangement;

Justification

This amendment also seeks to clarify the said definition used in several articles, namely in article 7 (2).

Amendment  10

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4b) 'registered consignee' means a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the Member State of destination, under conditions fixed by those authorities, to receive excise goods moving under a duty suspension arrangement and that have been dispatched from another Member State;

Justification

There are two terms: 'registered consignee' (when receiving excisable goods) and 'registered consignor' (when dispatching excisable goods), which may cause confusions if retained as proposed in the relevant articles. It is therefore proposed to define them in the right place of this legal instrument.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4c) 'registered consignor' means a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the Member State of importation, under conditions fixed by those authorities, to dispatch excise goods that are subject to a duty suspension arrangement on their release for free circulation, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code)1;

1 OJ L 145, 4.6.2008, p. 1.

Justification

See justification concerning Article 4, point 4a ( new).

Amendment  12

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 d (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4d) 'authorised warehouse keeper' means a natural or legal person permitted by the competent authorities of a Member State to produce, process, hold, receive or dispatch excise goods in the course of its business where the requirement to pay excise duty is suspended under a duty suspension arrangement;

Justification

Reference to 'authorised warehousekeeper' is made mainly in Article 15 but it is relatively unclear and misplaced. Hence the definition seeks to remedy this situation.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 e (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4e) 'tax warehouse' means a place where excise goods that are subject to a duty suspension arrangement are produced, processed, held, received or dispatched by an authorised warehouse keeper in the course of his or her business, subject to certain conditions laid down by the competent authorities of the Member State in which the tax warehouse is located;

Justification

The term: 'tax warehouse' as defined in article 14 (3) may cause confusion, hence the reason for this amendment. Its place is in article 4.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 f (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4f) ‘place of importation’ means the place where goods are located when they are released for free circulation, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 450/2008.

Justification

Clarifies the "place of importation" for legal reasons.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) the importation of excise goods.

(c) the importation of excise goods, including irregular importation, unless the excise goods are placed, immediately upon importation, under a duty suspension arrangement.

Justification

This amendment seeks to clarify the circumstances applicable to the importation of excise goods. See also amendment to article 4 on definitions.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. The total destruction or irretrievable loss of excise goods, including losses inherent in the nature of those goods, shall not be considered released for consumption.

4. The total destruction or irretrievable loss of the excise goods in question shall be proven to the satisfaction of the competent authorities of the Member State where that total destruction or irretrievable loss occurred.

The loss or destruction of the excise goods in question shall be proven to the satisfaction of the competent authorities.

Where, in the case of a movement under a duty suspension arrangement, it is not possible to determine where the total destruction or the irretrievable loss occurred, it shall be deemed to have occurred in the Member State where it has been detected.

For the purposes of the first subparagraph, goods shall be irretrievably lost when they are rendered unusable by any person.

Member States may subject the deliberate destruction of goods under a duty suspension arrangement to prior approval by the competent authorities.

Justification

This amendment should be considered in conjunction with the amendments to article 9. It entails, in part, redrafting and clarifies the cases when national authorities would subject the destruction of goods under a duty suspension arrangement.

Amendment  17

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Where an irregularity has occurred, during a movement under suspension of excise duty, giving rise to the release for consumption of excise goods and it is not possible to determine where the release for consumption took place, it shall be deemed to have taken place in the Member State of dispatch.

1. Where an irregularity has occurred, during a movement under suspension of excise duty, giving rise to a release for consumption of excise goods in accordance with Article 7(2)(a), and it is not possible to determine where the release for consumption took place, it shall be deemed to have taken place in the Member State of dispatch and at the time when the irregularity has been detected.

 

Where the excise goods under a duty suspension arrangement fail to arrive at their destination and the related irregularity, giving rise to a release for consumption in accordance with Article 7(2)(a), has not been detected, the release for consumption shall be deemed to have taken place in the Member State where and at the time when the excise goods are detected.

However, if, before the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the movement has begun in accordance with Article 19(1), it is ascertained in which Member State the release for consumption actually took place, that Member State shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch.

However, if, before the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the movement has begun in accordance with Article 19(1), it is ascertained in which Member State the release for consumption actually took place, the release for consumption shall be deemed to have taken place in that Member State, which shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State of detection or dispatch.

Where the excise duty has been levied by the Member State of dispatch, it shall be reimbursed or remitted as soon as evidence of its collection by the other Member State has been provided.

Where the excise duty has been levied by the Member State of detection or dispatch, it shall be reimbursed or remitted as soon as evidence of the release for consumption in the other Member State has been provided.

Justification

This amendment introduces drafting clarifications and defines the case when the excise goods under suspension of excise duty do not arrive at their destination, due to an irregularity.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 1 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1a. Where it is possible, through the use of appropriate evidence, to determine beyond reasonable doubt where an irregularity has taken place during a movement under a duty suspension arrangement giving rise to the release for consumption of excise goods, excise duty shall be liable in the Member State in which the irregularity took place.

Justification

The addition of this paragraph removes any uncertainty caused by its omission with regard to excise duty liability in the case of an irregularity taking place and the place of release for consumption being known.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2a. Where an irregularity can be proven to have taken place in one Member State, resulting in the release for consumption of excise goods in relation to which the excise tax stamps of the Member State of destination are attached, excise duty shall be liable in the Member State in which the irregularity took place only when the excise duty is reimbursed to the economic operator by the Member State of destination.

Justification

The addition of this paragraph clarifies the position as regards liability where the excise stamps of one MS are subject to an irregularity in another MS.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2b. In cases of irregularity where the Member State of destination does not levy excise duty through the use of excise stamps, the excise duty shall be immediately liable in the Member State in which the irregularity took place.

Justification

The addition of this paragraph clarifies the position as regards liability where the excise stamps of one MS are subject to an irregularity in another MS.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. For the purposes of paragraph 1, an irregularity shall mean a situation in which the movement has not ended in accordance with Article 19(2).

3. For the purposes of paragraph 1, an irregularity shall mean a situation, other than that referred to in Article 7(4), in which a movement, or a part of a movement, has not ended in accordance with Article 19(2).

Justification

This clarification should be considered in conjunction with the amendment to article 7(4) and article 9 (1).

Amendment  22

Proposal for a directive

Article 11 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(ea) delivery to an approved research and development facility, laboratory, government department or other approved party for the purpose of quality testing, pre-market introductory examination and verification for possible counterfeiting, provided that the goods involved are not deemed to be in commercial quantities, where:

 

(i) Member States may determine what quantities are to constitute ‘commercial quantities'; and

 

(ii) Member States may establish simplified procedures to facilitate the movement of goods under this point.

Justification

Often goods need to be moved between member states both before and after they are released for consumption for the purpose of quality testing, verification for possible counterfeiting or to help authorities in tracing the product to combat illicit trade. In some case a good has to be pre-approved before entering the market by the authorities. In all of the above cases the product is not released for consumption and in most cases quickly destroyed.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a directive

Article 11 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Exemptions shall be subject to conditions and limitations laid down by the host Member State. Member States may grant the exemption by means of a refund of excise duty.

2. Exemptions shall be subject to conditions and limitations laid down by the host Member State. Member States may grant the exemption by means of a refund of excise duty. The refund conditions established by the Member State shall not result in unduly burdensome exemption procedures.

Justification

Taxation-related practices in the Member States can give the impression that they are intended to make it difficult to obtain refunds. The proposed provision is intended as a general clause discouraging such practices.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a directive

Article 13 – paragraph 4 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

 

(c) ‘traveller to a third territory or to a third country’ means any passenger holding a transport document, for air or sea travel, stating that the immediate destination is an airport or port situated in a third territory or a third country.

(c) ‘traveller to a third territory or to a third country’ means any passenger holding a transport document, for air or sea travel, stating that the final destination is an airport or port situated in a third territory or a third country.

Justification

In order to take account of reality as regards connecting flights, it should remain possible to make tax-free purchases at all stages of a journey undertaken via connecting flights with a third territory or third country as the final destination.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a directive

Article 14 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Production, processing and holding of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if those activities occur in premises authorised pursuant to paragraph 3.

2. Production, processing and holding of excise goods, where the excise duty has not been paid, shall take place in a tax warehouse.

Justification

This amendment should be considered together with the definitional amendment of "tax warehouses" and also seeks to eliminate confusing wording.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a directive

Article 14 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. The competent authorities of the Member States shall authorise as "tax warehouses" premises that are to be used for the production, processing and holding of excise goods, as well as for their receipt or dispatch, under duty suspension arrangements.

deleted

Justification

It follows from the amendments to article 4.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a directive

Article 15 – paragraph 1 - subparagraphs 2 and 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

 

The authorisation may not be refused on the sole ground that the natural or legal person is established in another Member State and intends itself to operate the tax warehouse through a representative or branch in the Member State of authorisation.

The authorisation shall be subject to conditions that the authorities may lay down for the purposes of preventing any possible evasion or abuse. The authorisation may not, however, be refused on the sole ground that the natural or legal person is established in another Member State.

The authorisation shall cover the activities referred to in Article 14(3).

 

Justification

It follows from the amendment to article 14(3) and clarifies the need for the prevention of possible abuse or evasion of excise duties.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a directive

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Excise goods may be moved under suspension of excise duty within the territory of the Community:

1. Excise goods may be moved under suspension of excise duty between two points within the territory of the Community, including through a third country or through a region in a third country:

Justification

It specifies the conditions for the movement of excise goods when under suspension of excise duty.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a directive

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – point a – point ii

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(ii) a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the Member State of destination, under the conditions fixed by those authorities, to receive excise goods moving under suspension of excise duty dispatched from another Member State, hereinafter the "registered consignee";

(ii) the premises of a registered consignee;

Justification

It follows from the amendments to article 4.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a directive

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) from the place of importation to any of the destinations referred to in point (a), where those goods are dispatched by a natural or legal person authorised for that purpose by the competent authorities of the Member State of importation, under the conditions fixed by those authorities, hereinafter the "registered consignor".

(b) from the place of importation to any of the destinations or consignees referred to in point (a), where those goods are dispatched by a registered consignor.

Justification

It is consistent with the amendments to article 4.

Amendment  31

Proposal for a directive

Article 17 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch, under the conditions fixed by them, shall require that the risks inherent in the movement under suspension of excise duty are covered by a guarantee, which may be provided by one or more of the following persons:

1. The competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch, under the conditions fixed by them, shall require that the risks inherent in the movement under suspension of excise duty are covered by a guarantee, which may be provided by one or more of the following persons or on their behalf:

Justification

Third parties acting on behalf of the persons mentioned should be allowed to provide the guarantee in question.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a directive

Article 17 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The guarantee shall be valid throughout the Community.

2. The guarantee shall be valid throughout the Community and may be drawn up:

 

(a) by an institution authorised to carry on the business of a credit institution under Directive 2006/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 relating to the taking up and pursuit of the business of credit institutions1; or

 

(b) by an undertaking authorised to carry on insurance business under Council Directive 92/49/EEC of 18 June 1992 on the coordination of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to direct insurance other than life assurance2.

 

_______________

1 OJ L 177, 30.6.2006, p. 1.

2 OJ L 228, 11.8.1992, p. 1.

Justification

Article 17(1) gives a broader definition of the persons authorised to provide guarantees than that contained in Article 15(3) of Directive 92/12/EEC. Article 17(1) does not, however, resolve the problem arising from the fact that Member States establish different conditions regarding the geographical origin and identity of the person providing the guarantee. The proposed amendment seeks to clarify this issue.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a directive

Article 17 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 17a

 

1. At the request of the person referred to in Article 17(1), the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch may, under conditions they have set, allow for an overall guarantee to be provided for lower excise duties, or for no guarantee to be provided, provided that fiscal responsibility for the transport is at the same time assumed by the party responsible for the transport.

 

2. The authorisation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be granted only to persons who:

 

(a) are established in the customs territory of the Community;

 

(b) have a satisfactory record as regards the provision of guarantees concerning the movement of excise goods under a duty suspension arrangement; and

 

(c) regularly provide guarantees concerning the movement of excise goods under a duty suspension arrangement or are deemed by the customs authorities to have the ability to meet the obligations upon them in relation to those procedures.

 

3. The measures governing the procedure for granting the authorisations in application of paragraphs 1 and 2 shall be adopted in accordance with the regulatory procedure referred to in Article 40(2).

Justification

Les utilisateurs réguliers de la procédure de garantie devrait pouvoir avoir accès, sous certaines conditions, à un système simplifié, à l'instar de la procédure prévue aux articles 61(5) et 67 du Code des douanes modernisé, mais il est nécessaire que simultanément la responsabilité fiscale du transport soit assurée par celui qui prend la responsabilité du transport (le plus souvent le destinataire). Actuellement c’est l’expéditeur qui est seul responsable et la nécessité d’une caution est justifiée par les pertes, ou vols, en cours de transport, et par le non apurement par le destinataire.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a directive

Article 18 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 2 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

A registered consignee authorised for the purposes of the first subparagraph shall comply with the following requirements:

A temporary registered consignee authorised for the purposes of the first subparagraph shall comply with the following requirements:

Justification

The proposal includes the concepts of 'registered consignee' and 'temporary registered consigned'. These concepts should correspond to those of 'registered trader' and 'non-registered trader' as used in Directive 92/12/EEC.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a directive

Article 19 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. The movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty shall be deemed to begin when the goods leave the tax warehouse of dispatch or the place of importation.

1. The movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty shall be deemed to begin when the goods leave the tax warehouse of dispatch or the place of importation. The point at which the goods leave the tax warehouse or the place of importation shall be determined by the dispatch of a supplementary information message without delay to the competent authority by the authorised warehouse keeper or the registered consignor.

Justification

Movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty raises the risk for collecting the due tax. Therefore, there should be further guarantee as the immediate dispatch of information, for example.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a directive

Article 19 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. The movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty shall be deemed to end when the consignee has taken delivery of the goods or, in the case referred to in point (iii) of Article 16(1)(a), when the goods have left the territory of the Community.

2. The movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty shall end:

 

- when the consignee has taken delivery of the goods. The time when the consignee takes delivery of the goods shall be determined by the dispatch of a supplementary information message sent by the consignee immediately upon arrival of the goods to the competent authority;

 

- when, in the case referred to in point (iii) of Article 16(1)(a), the goods have left the territory of the Community or have been placed under a customs suspensive procedure or arrangement.

Justification

This amendment is necessary: (1) to give Member States the possibility of monitoring the flows in real time and of carrying out the requisite checks where necessary (cf. Article 1(2b) of Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 ); (2) to determine precisely the transition from the suspensive warehousing arrangements or suspensive temporary storage arrangements to the suspensive arrangements on movements covered, if necessary, by a guarantee provided by another party.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a directive

Article 19 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Article 19a

 

The rules applicable to the movement of excise goods under a duty suspension arrangement shall, under conditions set by the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch, allow for an overall guarantee to be provided for lower excise duty, or for no guarantee to be provided, provided that fiscal responsibility for the transport is at the same time assumed by the party responsible for the transport.

Justification

Les utilisateurs réguliers de la procédure de garantie devrait pouvoir avoir accès, sous certaines conditions, à un système simplifié, à l'instar de la procédure prévue aux articles 61(5) et 67 du Code des douanes modernisé, mais il est nécessaire que simultanément la responsabilité fiscale du transport soit assurée par celui qui prend la responsabilité du transport (le plus souvent le destinataire). Actuellement c’est l’expéditeur qui est seul responsable et la nécessité d’une caution est justifiée par les pertes, ou vols, en cours de transport, et par le non apurement par le destinataire.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a directive

Article 20 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. A movement of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if it takes place under cover of an electronic administrative document processed in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3.

1. A movement of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if it takes place under cover of an electronic administrative document processed in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3. The Member States and the Commission shall take the necessary measures to implement key public facilities at national level and to ensure their interoperability.

Justification

In accordance with the Directive on electronic signatures, it is important, in order for an electronic document to have the same legal validity as a document signed by hand, for the public key facilities needed for electronic signatures to be implemented in all the Member States, and to ensure the interoperability of the national systems.

Amendment  39

Proposal for a directive

Article 20 – paragraph 6

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

6. The consignor shall communicate the administrative reference code to the person accompanying the goods.

6. The goods dispatched shall be accompanied by printed information identifying the goods in movement.

The code shall be available throughout the movement under suspension of excise duty.

 

Justification

The EMCS system will only be deployed in phases. The presence of a printout containing the administrative reference code for the goods dispatched, amongst other information, is essential so as not to hamper roadside inspections on intra-Community transport. As with the computerised transit system (NCTS),with which alignment is specifically requested in Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, the accompanying printout should contain all the information included in the electronic message.

Amendment  40

Proposal for a directive

Article 22

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The competent authority of the Member State of dispatch may allow, under the conditions fixed by that Member State, that the consignor, using the computerised system, splits a movement under suspension of excise duty of energy products into two or more movements provided that the total quantity of excise goods does not change.

The competent authority of the Member State of dispatch may allow, under the conditions fixed by that Member State, that the consignor, using the computerised system, splits a movement under suspension of excise duty of energy products into two or more movements provided that:

 

(a) the total quantity of excise goods does not change; and

 

(b) the splitting is carried out on the territory of a Member State which permits such a procedure.

Member States may also provide that such a splitting may not be carried out on their territory.

Member States shall inform the Commission if and under which conditions they allow splitting consignments on their territory. The Commission shall transmit that information to the other Member States.

Justification

It introduces two conditions - (a) and (b) - if the "consignor" wishes to split "a" movement under suspension into two or more movements, and an obligation to undertaken by the Member States in informing the Commission of the authorised splitting consignments.

Amendment  41

Proposal for a directive

Article 23 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. On receipt of excise goods at any of the destinations referred to in points (i), (ii) or (iv) of Article 16(1)(a) or in Article 16(2), the consignee shall without delay submit a report of their receipt, hereinafter the "report of receipt", to the competent authorities of the Member State of destination using the computerised system.

1. On receipt of excise goods at any of the destinations referred to in points (i), (ii) or (iv) of Article 16(1)(a) or in Article 16(2), the consignee shall, not later than the working day following reception, submit a report of their receipt, hereinafter the "report of receipt", to the competent authorities of the Member State of destination using the computerised system.

Justification

The term 'without delay' is not realistically acceptable. It is more pragmatic to use the phrase that appears in Article 16 of Regulation 884/2001 for entering products in records: 'not later than the working day following reception'.

Amendment  42

Proposal for a directive

Article 24 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. The competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch shall forward the report of export to the consignor.

3. The competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch shall forward the report of export to the consignor no later than the working day following reception of the certificate stating that the excise goods have left the territory of the Community.

Justification

It is essential that the same obligation be imposed on the competent authorities of the exporting Member State, by setting a specific deadline.

Amendment  43

Proposal for a directive

Article 26 – paragraph 1 – subparagraphs 2 and 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

When the availability of the system is restored, the consignor shall submit a draft electronic administrative document without delay. That document shall replace the paper document referred to in point (a) of the first subparagraph as soon as it has been processed in accordance with Article 20(3), and the procedure relating to the electronic administrative document shall apply.

The goods shall continue to be moved in accordance with the fallback procedure, including the discharge procedure, even if the electronic system becomes available again during the movement.

Until such time as the electronic administrative document has been processed in accordance with Article 20(3), the movement shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty under cover of the paper document.

 

Justification

The subsequent recording of these movements in the computerised system would result in the guarantee covering the movement being invoked twice, possible discrepancies as regards the discharge of the paper and electronic procedures, possible discrepancies arising from errors contained in the paper version, and ambiguity as regards the legal primacy of one procedure over the other.

Amendment  44

Proposal for a directive

Article 26 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Where the computerised system is not available, an authorised warehousekeeper or a registered consignor may communicate the information referred to in Article 20(8) or Article 22 using alternative means of communication. To that end he shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch at the time that the change of destination or splitting of the movement is initiated.

2. Where the computerised system is not available, an authorised warehousekeeper or a registered consignor may communicate the information referred to in Article 20(8) or Article 22 using alternative means of communication defined by the Member States. To that end he shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch at the time that the change of destination or splitting of the movement is initiated.

Justification

Member States should be able to define the means of communication which would allow the verification of the receipt or the sending of the message.

Amendment  45

Proposal for a directive

Article 28

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Member States may establish simplified procedures in respect of movements under suspension of excise duty which take place entirely on their territory.

Member States may establish simplified procedures in respect of movements under suspension of excise duty which take place entirely on their territory, including the possibility of waiving the requirement of electronic supervision of such movements.

Justification

This is an additional obligation imposed on the Member States, which allows them to waive the requirement of electronic supervision when such cases are justified.

Amendment  46

Proposal for a directive

Article 29 – point 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(3a) movements of goods pursuant to Article 11(ea).

Amendment  47

Proposal for a directive

Article 30 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

As regards excise goods other than manufactured tobacco acquired by private individuals, the first subparagraph shall also apply in cases where the goods are transported on their behalf.

deleted

Justification

Not only should the indicative limits in Directive 92/12 not be scrapped, but they should in fact be strengthened by making them compulsory. Free movement in the single market cannot serve as a pretext for avoiding the payment of excise duties, particularly when these respond to public health requirements.

Amendment  48

Proposal for a directive

Article 30 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2a. For the purposes of applying paragraph 2(e), Member States may lay down guide levels, solely as a form of evidence. Those guide levels shall be no less than:

 

(a) For tobacco products:

 

- 400 cigarettes;

 

- 200 cigarillos (cigars of a maximum weight of 3 grammes each);

 

- 100 cigars,

 

- 0,5 kilogramme of smoking tobacco;

 

(b) For alcoholic beverages:

 

- 5 litres of spirit drinks;

 

- 10 litres of intermediate products;

 

- 45 litres of wine (including a maximum of 30 litres of sparkling wine);

 

- 55 litres of beer.

Justification

There is no need to scrap the indicative limits, as this could create legal uncertainty and confusion, both for consumers and for the monitoring authorities.

Amendment  49

Proposal for a directive

Article 30 – paragraph 2 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2b. Member States may also provide for excise duty to become chargeable in the Member State of consumption in respect of the acquisition of mineral oils already released for consumption in another Member State if those goods have been moved atypically by or for private individuals. Atypical movement may include the movement of fuel in containers other than the vehicle tank or a suitable spare fuel container or the movement of liquid heating fuels by means other than tankers being used for a commercial entrepreneur.

Justification

Not only should the indicative limits in Directive 92/12 not be scrapped, but they should in fact be strengthened by making them compulsory. Free movement in the single market cannot serve as a pretext for avoiding the payment of excise duties, particularly when these respond to public health requirements.

Amendment  50

Proposal for a directive

Article 34 – paragraph 4 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) register his identity with the tax authorities of the Member State of dispatch of the excise goods;

(a) register his identity with the tax authorities of the Member State of dispatch of the excise goods and obtain an identification document from those tax authorities;

Justification

There is a need to specify that the vendor should obtain an identification document from the authorities of the Member State of dispatch before commencing his distance selling activities.

Amendment  51

Proposal for a directive

Article 37

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Without prejudice to Article 7(1), Member States may require that excise goods carry tax markings or national identification marks used for fiscal purposes at the time when they are released for consumption in their territory, or, in the cases provided for in Article 31(1), first subparagraph, and Article 34(1), when they enter their territory.

1. Without prejudice to Article 7(1), Member States may require that excise goods carry tax markings, national identification marks or any other form of serial or authentication mark used for fiscal purposes at the time when they are released for consumption in their territory, or, in the cases provided for in Article 31(1), first subparagraph, and Article 34(1), when they enter their territory.

2. Any Member State which requires the use of tax marking or national identification marks as set out in paragraph 1 shall be required to make them available to authorised warehousekeepers of the other Member States.

2. Any Member State which requires the use of tax marking, national identification marks or any other form of serial or authentication mark as set out in paragraph 1 shall be required to make them available to authorised warehousekeepers of the other Member States.

3. Without prejudice to any provisions they may lay down in order to ensure that this Article is implemented properly and to prevent any fraud, evasion or abuse, Member States shall ensure that these markings or marks do not create obstacles to the free movement of excise goods.

3. Without prejudice to any provisions they may lay down in order to ensure that this Article is implemented properly and to prevent any fraud, evasion or abuse, Member States shall ensure that these markings or marks do not create obstacles to the free movement of excise goods.

When such markings or marks are affixed to excise goods, any amount paid or guaranteed to obtain such markings or marks shall be reimbursed, remitted or released by the Member State which issued them if excise duty has become chargeable and has been collected in another Member State.

When such markings or marks are affixed to excise goods, any amount paid or guaranteed to obtain such markings or marks shall be reimbursed, remitted or released by the Member State which issued them if excise duty has become chargeable and has been collected in another Member State.

4. Tax markings or identification marks within the meaning of paragraph 1 shall be valid in the Member State which issued them. However, there may be mutual recognition of these markings between Member States.

4. Tax markings, national identification marks or any other form of serial or authentication mark within the meaning of paragraph 1 shall be valid in the Member State which issued them. However, there may be mutual recognition of these markings between Member States.

Justification

Member States should be allowed to authorise new forms of marks other than tax markings or national identification marks.

Amendment  52

Proposal for a directive

Article 37 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

The Member State which issued the markings or marks may nevertheless subject the reimbursement, remittance or release of the amount paid or guaranteed to proof that those markings or marks have been removed or destroyed.

Justification

This added condition is meant to clarify the procedure and speedy reimbursement of an amount paid or guaranteed when excise goods markings or marks have been removed or destroyed.

Amendment  53

Proposal for a directive

Article 39

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Until the Council has adopted Community provisions on stores for boats and aircraft, Member States may maintain their national provisions on the subject.

Until the Council has adopted Community provisions on stores for boats and aircraft, Member States may maintain their national provisions on the subject. Those national provisions must be communicated to the other Member States so that their economic operators are able to benefit thereunder.

Justification

The proposed amendment aims to facilitate transactions by economic operators in the Member States pending the adoption of Community provisions on stores for boats and aircraft.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

1.        General considerations

The proposal submitted to Parliament for an opinion concerns the modernisation and recast of Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992 on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products ("Directive 92/12/EEC").

The Commission had already tried unsuccessfully in 2004 to adapt Directive 92/12/EEC to developments in the market for excisable goods. The discussions in the Council had been broken off in January 2005, pending a full revision of the Directive by the Commission that would cover other aspects, particularly the monitoring of movements of goods for which no duty has yet been paid. On 8 June 2005, Parliament adopted a favourable opinion on this initial Commission proposal.

In the meantime, the Commission has produced a new proposal to amend Directive 92/12/EEC which takes over the content of the 2004 proposal and introduces other amendments to take account of the introduction of the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS). The system was set up on the basis of Decision N° 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and Council of 16 June 2003 ("the EMCS Decision") and should be operational by mid-2009. Some amendments need to be made to Directive 92/12/EEC in order to implement this computerised system.

Through its new proposal to recast Directive 92/12/EEC, the Commission seeks to simplify and modernise this directive by reducing the obligations facing operators whilst making it easier to tackle excise fraud.

The rapporteur considers that this Commission proposal contains a number of improvements to the arrangements for products subject to excise duties. However, it is also felt that other improvements that go further than the Commission proposal are needed in order to update the excise arrangements and make them more workable both for economic operators and private individuals and for the Member States' tax authorities. With this reform, operators will work in a simplified paperless environment with greater legal certainty. The rapporteur proposes that a system be set up in which the authorities will be able to control the movement of excisable goods more efficiently and cheaply, and this will enable them to combat tax fraud more effectively.

2.        Analysis of the proposal

The Commission proposal aims to replace Directive 92/12/EEC. It is made up of 7 chapters, with two of these dealing with areas in which the Commission proposes the most significant changes, i.e.:

§ the movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty under the new computerised EMCS system which should start to apply as of 2009 (Chapter IV);

§ the movement of excise goods after release for consumption, which was the subject of the 2004 proposal and which the Commission has taken over, with a few minor changes, in its new proposal (Chapter V).

Chapter I (General provisions, Articles 1 to 6) refers to the nature of the excise duty (Article 1); eliminates the duplication of procedures in the case of customs suspensive procedures or arrangements (Article 3(3)), and determines the territorial scope of the directive (Articles 5 and 6).

Chapter II (Incurrence of excise duty, Articles 7 to 13) clarifies and specifies the rules and procedures applicable in the case of shortages and irregularities, and the conditions for the reimbursement and remission of excise duty: the occurrence of shortages under a duty suspension arrangement automatically constitutes a release for consumption (Article 7(1)); excise goods shall not be considered released for consumption in case of their total destruction or irretrievable loss, and it will no longer be necessary for the competent authorities to establish the reason for the occurrence of the shortage, in terms of fortuitous events or force majeure (Article 7(4)); Member States are competent to define the procedures for reimbursement and remission of excise duty as well (Article 8); the procedure to identify the Member State entitled to recover excise duty in case of irregularities is simplified by defining the term "irregularity" and removing the term "offence", and by generalising the rule that in that situation the release for consumption is deemed to have occurred in the Member State of dispatch (Article 9); as regards the conditions for reimbursement or remission of excise duty, the proposal lays down as a general principle that it is for Member States to determine these conditions (Article 10);

Chapter III (Production, processing and holding, Articles 14 and 15) corresponds to Articles 11, 12 and 13 of Directive 92/12/EEC.

Chapter IV (Movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty, Articles 16 to 29) lays down the basic provisions and the procedures that apply to the movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty under the EMCS. This new Chapter provides a much wider circle of persons who shall be allowed to act as guarantor (Article 17); defines when a movement under suspension of excise duty shall be deemed to begin and end (Article 19); provides that a movement of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if it takes place under cover of an electronic administrative document that replaces the current paper accompanying document (Article 20); provides that the Member States may allow the consignor to split a movement of energy products (Article 22); provides for the use of an electronic 'report of receipt' or a 'report of export' (Articles 23 and 24); provides for procedures to be used in the absence of electronic reports (Article 25) or when the computerised system is not available (Article 26); introduces other simplification arrangements (Articles 28 and 29).

Chapter V (Movement and taxation of excise goods after release for consumption, Articles 30 to 36) takes over the Commission's 2004 proposal. It is therefore important to point out that Parliament took a position on these measures in its resolution of 8 June 2005. As stated in the legislative report accompanying this resolution, the Commission proposes abolishing the guide levels used by the Member States to establish whether excisable products are held for the personal use of private individuals or for commercial purposes. In practice, these guide levels have lost their indicative nature and are being applied like mandatory limits by several Member States' customs administrations. In the legislative report accompanying the Parliament resolution of 8 June 2005, Parliament proposed an amendment to clarify the presumption of innocence and the burden of proof, in order to limit the very wide discretionary powers of Member States' authorities when assessing "suspect" shipments. The rapporteur proposes that this amendment be taken over.

Attention should, finally be paid to the most important provisions of Chapters VI (Miscellaneous, Articles 37 to 39) and VII (Final provisions, Articles 40 to 49):

§ Article 37 contains a number of elements intended to clarify, in view of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Case C-374/06, BATIG, that the tax or fiscal markings that Member States may impose are not to give rise to a double tax burden;

§ Article 40 adapts the directive to Decision 1999/468/EC ("comitology");

§ Article 43 provides for an intermediate period, ending 31 December 2009, for the introduction of the computerised system, during which Member States may use the paper-based procedure.

3.        Conclusion

The rapporteur can agree with most of the features of the Commission proposal that simplify the administrative procedures. In using an electronic system for the exchange of information, the Member States' authorities will have a tool that enables them to carry out more targeted and risk-based procedures to monitor the movements of excisable goods.

The rapporteur considers that the provisions included in the Commission proposal are not sufficient to guarantee private individuals and companies in the EU the freedom to make cross-border purchases and sales of goods without encountering unnecessary tax obstacles. The rapporteur thus proposes extending the provisions governing goods acquired by private individuals (Article 30) to distance selling (Article 34), thus creating a genuine internal market in excisable goods purchased by private individuals for their personal use. Payment of excise duty in the Member State where the products are acquired is the least bureaucratic and most effective solution for the authorities, vendors and private individuals.

As regards the provisions governing the guarantees covering the risks inherent in the movement under suspension of excise duty, the rapporteur proposes that this guarantee be extended to all persons involved in the movement of goods. The rapporteur also suggests that the validity of this guarantee in the EU be clarified.

The rapporteur proposes the application of a reduced guarantee system for users who fulfil certain conditions relating to good conduct and regular use of the guarantee system.

In Article 13, the rapporteur proposes the continued existence of tax-free shops on the Union's external borders.

The rapporteur also proposes that it should remain possible for travellers holding a transport document stating that the final destination is a third territory or a third country to make tax-free purchases in order to take account of reality as regards connecting flights.


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (8.10.2008)

for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

on the proposal for a Council directive concerning the general arrangements for excise duty

(COM(2008)0078 – C6‑0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS))

Rapporteur: Manuel António dos Santos

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

1. Background

The proposal in question has as main objective the introduction of the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) into the Members States tax systems.

This is rendered necessary because the EMCS has been put into place by Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 on computerising the movement and surveillance of excisable products.(1) And it is planned to be put into use in April 2009.

The principle that will make the EMCS effective, according to the Commission, will be the replacement of the current paper accompanying document by the Electronic Administrative Document (e-AD). Hence, we shall have a "paperless environment for trade".

A second reason for having the proposal under consideration is that the provisions relating to movements under suspension of excise duty need to be adapted. It will allow such movements to be covered by procedures under this new system. Thus, it is claimed by the Commission that we shall have "simplified and ... while permitting more integrated, faster and risk oriented control approaches for excise authorities" (COM (2008) 78, p.2).

These two main reasons have led the Commission to propose to replace Directive 92/12/EEC in its entirety.

It should be recalled that the Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992 on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products(2)

need to be replaced by the proposal under question because of a number of other matters that have occurred in the meantime. These are: to take into account new legislative standards and concepts; to recast the text, enhancing the logical structure; to simplify and modernise the excise procedures.

2. The ITRE interest

From the point of view of the ITRE remit, it has always been its position that any tax system introduced by the EC with the consent of Member States, should attain the following objectives:

1.  To increase efficiency in production and distribution of goods and services, mainly by reducing red tape.

2.  To improve the existing rules and to adapt them to the current circumstances, notably to facilitate risk based monitoring procedures for national administrations.

3.  To simplify procedures and to increase transparency for intra-Community trade, by increasing legal certainty and fair rules.

4.  The system for the collection and reimbursement of duty should not give rise to discriminatory criteria, and should avoid double taxation.

In principle one cannot disassociate the underlying principles and provisions of the proposal from the specific remit of the ITRE Committee. Yet your Draftsman concentrates, inter alia, on: Chapter III on Production, Processing and Holding; Chapter IV on Movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty; Chapter VI on Marking and small wine producers.

Chapter III on Production, Processing and holding

Chapter III consists of two articles: 14 and 15, which are taken from Directive 92/12/EEC.

Firstly, the proposal borrows the suspensive procedures laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 2913/92 of 12 October 1992 establishing the Community Customs Code.(3)

There is a logic to it, namely to retain coherence and consistency. But the Community Customs Code is a complex EC Law.

The amendments proposed by the Draftsman seek to improve the proposal and are to provide for adequate monitoring whilst excise goods are subject to the provisions of the suspensive procedures.

Secondly, the "authorised warehouse keeper" is an important legal provision of this proposal because it will be "used for the production, processing and holding of excise goods, as well as for their receipt or dispatch, under duty suspension arrangements" (Art. 14), and because the "authorised warehouse keeper" is granted by the Members States subject to five requirements (Art. 15, §2).

The amendments proposed by the Draftsman seek to improve the proposal and are meant to make simpler yet more binding the rules in order to prevent evasion and abuse.

Chapter IV on the Movement of excise goods under Suspension of Excise Duty

This Chapter is important to ITRE because it lays down the basic provisions and the procedures that apply to the movement of excise goods under suspension of excise duty under the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS).

It should be noted that this Chapter is totally new and rather innovative because of the introduction of the Electronic Administrative Document. It essentially establishes a New Regime, and it merits careful consideration. The amendments proposed by the Draftsman may be considered improvements to the proposal because they clarify the responsibility of the institutions concerned and of the agents involved.

Chapter VI on Marking and Small wine Producers

It is equally important to ITRE because we have now a simple choice over "affixing". Member States are required to either set a Tax Marking on "excise goods" or carry a National Identification Mark. This affixing plays a dual role. It should enhance the free movement of excise goods and avoid double tax burden. The draftsman proposes one amendment.

Article 38 allows Member States to exempt small wine producers from the requirements of Chapter III and IV. The draftsman is happy with it.

Other amendments

The draftsman has proposed a few amendments to Article 4 concerning the definitions in order to enhance coherence and simplification of the proposal.

A few additional amendments to the date of repeal of Directive 92/12/EEC and the entry into force of the proposal under consideration are introduced by the draftsman. They seek to find a compromise between the Commission's optimistic proposal and the realities as faced by the national authorities in implementing a new legal instrument in the field of excise duties. In essence, the amendments adopted seek to improve the proposal from the Commission.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment   1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(4) Excise goods may be subject to other indirect taxes for specific purposes. In that case, however, and in order not to jeopardise the useful effect of Community rules relating to indirect taxes, Member States should comply with certain essential elements of those rules.

(4) Excise goods may be subject to other indirect taxes for specific purposes. In that case, however, and in order not to jeopardise the useful effect of Community rules relating to indirect taxes, Member States should comply with certain essential elements of those rules, namely the tax base and calculation, chargeability and monitoring of the tax.

Justification

With a view to avoiding any ambiguity and unwarranted interpretation problems, the recitals need to include a reference to the main elements of Community law on indirect taxation.

Amendment  2

Proposal for a directive

Recital 9

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(9) Since excise duty is a tax on the consumption of certain goods, duty should not be charged in respect of excise goods which have been destroyed or irretrievably lost, irrespective of the circumstances of the destruction or loss.

(9) Since excise duty is a tax on the consumption of certain goods, duty should not be charged in respect of excise goods which have indisputably been destroyed or irretrievably lost, irrespective of the circumstances of the destruction or loss.

Justification

Clarification. Given that the term 'irretrievably lost' is used, it also needs to be clear exactly what is meant by 'destroyed'. This provision will apply only where there is absolutely certainty as to the goods' destruction.

Amendment  3

Proposal for a directive

Recital 21 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(21a) In order to ensure the efficient operation of the computerised system, Member States should adopt within their national applications a uniform data set and data structure in order to provide a reliable interface for economic operators.

Justification

This amendment seeks to make the case for a harmonised, possibly in the medium term, a single pan-European electronic system to administer businesses. Any deviation by the Member States away from creating a uniform interface to their national EMCS applications may result in economic operators having to produce multiple interface types within their systems, resulting in additional cost and time delays.

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Recital 24

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(24) It is necessary to determine the procedures to be used in a case in which the computerised system is not available.

(24) It is necessary to determine the procedures to be used in a case in which the computerised system is not available for reasons outside the control of, or through no fault of, the operators involved in the movement of excise goods.

Justification

Clarification. Under the current wording, unavailability of the computerised system subjectively attributable to an operator may be deemed grounds for application of fallback procedures.

Amendment  5

Proposal for a directive

Recital 28 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(28a) In the case of products that are subject to excise duty because they are acquired by private individuals for their own use and transported by them, the quantity of the excise goods should be specified.

Justification

This amendment should be considered in conjunction with the one tabled to article 30. It seeks to lay down guide levels for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages.

Amendment  6

Proposal for a directive

Recital 36

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(36) In order to allow a period of adjustment to the electronic control system for the movement of goods under suspension of excise duty, Member States should be able to benefit from a transitional period during which such movement may continue to be carried out subject to the formalities laid down by Directive 92/12/EEC.

(36) In order to allow a period of adjustment to the electronic control system for the movement of goods under suspension of excise duty, Member States should be able to benefit from a transitional period during which such movement may continue to be carried out subject to the formalities laid down by Directive 92/12/EEC. The length of the transitional period should be set with due regard to the feasibility of actually introducing the computerised system in the individual Member States.

Justification

Experience in the Member States has shown that computerising administrative procedures and making the necessary digitised documents available can run into legal and organisational problems, as well as difficulties in changing mentalities.

Amendment  7

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4a) 'importation of excise goods' means the entry of excise goods onto the territory of the Community of excise goods, unless the excise goods have, upon their entry into the Community, been placed under a customs suspensive procedure or arrangement, as well as the release of excise goods from any such customs suspensive procedure or arrangement;

Justification

This amendment also seeks to clarify the said definition used in several articles, namely in article 7 (2).

Amendment  8

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 b (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4b) 'registered consignee' means a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the Member State of destination, under conditions fixed by those authorities, to receive excise goods moving under suspension of excise duty and that have been dispatched from another Member State;

Justification

There are two terms: 'registered consignee' (when receiving excisable goods) and 'registered consignor' (when dispatching excisable goods), which may cause confusions if retained as proposed in the relevant articles. It is therefore proposed to define them in the right place of this legal instrument.

Amendment  9

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 c (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4c) 'registered consignor' means a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the Member State of importation, under conditions fixed by those authorities, to dispatch excise goods that are subject to a duty suspension arrangement on their release for free circulation, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 laying down the Community Customs Code (Modernised Customs Code)1;

1 OJ L 145, 4.6.2008, p. 1.

Justification

See justification concerning Article 4, point 4a ( new).

Amendment  10

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 d (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4d) 'authorised warehouse keeper' means a natural or legal person permitted by the competent authorities of a Member State to produce, process, hold, receive or dispatch excise goods in the course of its business where the requirement to pay excise duty is suspended under a duty-suspension arrangement;

Justification

Reference to 'authorised warehousekeeper' is made mainly in Article 15 but it is relatively unclear and misplaced. Hence the definition seeks to remedy this situation.

Amendment  11

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 e (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4e) 'tax warehouse' means a place where excise goods that are subject to a duty suspension arrangement are produced, processed, held, received or dispatched by an authorised warehouse keeper in the course of business, subject to certain conditions laid down by the competent authorities of the Member State where the tax warehouse is located;

Justification

The term: 'tax warehouse' as defined in article 14 (3) may cause confusion, hence the reason for this amendment. Its place is in article 4.

Amendment  12

Proposal for a directive

Article 4 – point 4 f (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(4f) ‘place of importation’ shall be the place where goods are located when they are released for free circulation in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 450/2008.

Justification

Clarifies the "place of importation" for legal reasons.

Amendment  13

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 1 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) the importation of excise goods.

(c) the importation of excise goods, including irregular importation, unless the excise goods are placed, immediately upon importation, under a duty suspension arrangement.

Justification

This amendment seeks to clarify the circumstances applicable to the importation of excise goods. See also amendment to article 4 on definitions.

Amendment  14

Proposal for a directive

Article 7 – paragraph 4

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

4. The total destruction or irretrievable loss of excise goods, including losses inherent in the nature of those goods, shall not be considered released for consumption.

4. The total destruction or irretrievable loss of the excise goods in question shall be proven to the satisfaction of the competent authorities of the Member State where the total destruction or irretrievable loss occurred.

The loss or destruction of the excise goods in question shall be proven to the satisfaction of the competent authorities.

Where, in the case of a movement under duty suspension arrangement, it is not possible to determine where the total destruction or the irretrievable loss occurred, it shall be deemed to have occurred in the Member State where it has been detected.

For the purposes of the first subparagraph, goods shall be irretrievably lost when they are rendered unusable by any person.

Member States may subject the deliberate destruction of goods under a duty suspension arrangement to prior approval by the competent authorities.

Justification

This amendment should be considered in conjunction with the amendments to article 9. It entails, in part, redrafting and clarifies the cases when national authorities would subject the destruction of goods under a duty suspension arrangement.

Amendment  15

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Where an irregularity has occurred, during a movement under suspension of excise duty, giving rise to the release for consumption of excise goods and it is not possible to determine where the release for consumption took place, it shall be deemed to have taken place in the Member State of dispatch.

1. Where an irregularity has occurred, during a movement under suspension of excise duty, giving rise to a release for consumption of excise goods in accordance with Article 7(2)(a), and it is not possible to determine where the release for consumption took place, it shall be deemed to have taken place in the Member State of dispatch and at the time when the irregularity has been detected.

 

Where the excise goods under suspension of excise duty fail to arrive at their destination and the related irregularity, giving rise to a release for consumption in accordance with Article 7(2)(a), has not been detected, the release for consumption shall be deemed to have taken place in the Member State where and at the time when the excise goods are detected.

However, if, before the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the movement has begun in accordance with Article 19(1), it is ascertained in which Member State the release for consumption actually took place, that Member State shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch.

However, if, before the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the movement has begun in accordance with Article 19(1), it is ascertained in which Member State the release for consumption actually took place, the release for consumption shall be deemed to have taken place in that Member State, which shall inform the competent authorities of the Member State of detection or dispatch.

Where the excise duty has been levied by the Member State of dispatch, it shall be reimbursed or remitted as soon as evidence of its collection by the other Member State has been provided.

Where the excise duty has been levied by the Member State of detection or dispatch, it shall be reimbursed or remitted as soon as evidence of the release for consumption in the other Member State has been provided.

Justification

This amendment introduces drafting clarifications and defines the case when the excise goods under suspension of excise duty do not arrive at their destination, due to an irregularity.

Amendment  16

Proposal for a directive

Article 9 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. For the purposes of paragraph 1, an irregularity shall mean a situation in which the movement has not ended in accordance with Article 19(2).

3. For the purposes of paragraph 1, an irregularity shall mean a situation, other than that referred to in Article 7(4), in which a movement, or a part of a movement, has not ended in accordance with Article 19(2).

Justification

This clarification should be considered in conjunction with the amendment to article 7(4) and article 9 (1).

Amendment  17

Proposal for a directive

Article 11 – paragraph 1 – point e a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

(ea) delivery to an approved R&D facility, laboratory, government department or other approved party for the purpose of quality testing, pre-market introductory examination and verification for possible counterfeiting, provided that the goods involved are not deemed to be in commercial quantities.

Justification

For the purpose of quality testing, verification for possible counterfeiting or of helping authorities trace illicit trade, goods need to be moved between member states both before and after they are released for consumption . In some cases, a good has to be pre-approved before entering the market by the authorities. In all of the above cases the product is not released for consumption and in most cases quickly destroyed.

Amendment  18

Proposal for a directive

Article 11 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Exemptions shall be subject to conditions and limitations laid down by the host Member State. Member States may grant the exemption by means of a refund of excise duty.

2. Exemptions shall be subject to conditions and limitations laid down by the host Member State. Member States may grant the exemption by means of a refund of excise duty. The refund conditions established by the Member State shall not result in unduly complicated exemption procedures.

Justification

Taxation-related practices in the Member States can give the impression that they are intended to make it difficult to obtain refunds. The proposed provision is intended as a general clause discouraging such practices.

Amendment  19

Proposal for a directive

Article 13 – paragraph 4 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) 'tax-free shop' means any establishment situated within an airport or port which fulfils the conditions laid down by the competent public authorities, pursuant in particular to paragraph 3;

(b) 'tax-free shop' means any establishment situated within an airport or port or on the border with a third country or a third territory, which fulfils the conditions laid down by the competent public authorities, pursuant in particular to paragraph 3;

Justification

It should remain possible to make tax-free purchases at all stages of a journey undertaken via connecting flights with a third territory or third country as the final destination.

Amendment  20

Proposal for a directive

Article 13 – paragraph 4 – point c

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) ‘traveller to a third territory or to a third country’ means any passenger holding a transport document, for air or sea travel, stating that the immediate destination is an airport or port situated in a third territory or a third country.

(c) ‘traveller to a third territory or to a third country’ means any passenger holding a transport document, for air or sea travel, stating that the final destination is an airport or port situated in a third territory or a third country, and any passenger leaving the European Union by land.

Justification

It should remain possible to make tax-free purchases at all stages of a journey undertaken via connecting flights with a third territory or third country as the final destination.

Amendment  21

Proposal for a directive

Article 14 – paragraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2. Production, processing and holding of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if those activities occur in premises authorised pursuant to paragraph 3.

2. Production, processing and holding of excise goods, where the excise duty has not been paid, shall take place in a tax warehouse.

Justification

This amendment should be considered together with the definitional amendment of "tax warehouses" and also seeks to eliminate confusing wording.

Amendment  22

Proposal for a directive

Article 14 – paragraph 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

3. The competent authorities of the Member States shall authorise as "tax warehouses" premises that are to be used for the production, processing and holding of excise goods, as well as for their receipt or dispatch, under duty suspension arrangements.

deleted

Justification

It follows from the amendments to article 4.

Amendment  23

Proposal for a directive

Article 15 – paragraph 1 - subparagraphs 2 and 3

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

 

The authorisation may not be refused on the sole ground that the natural or legal person is established in another Member State and intends itself to operate the tax warehouse through a representative or branch in the Member State of authorisation.

The authorisation shall be subject to conditions that the authorities may lay down for the purposes of preventing any possible evasion or abuse. The authorisation may not, however, be refused on the sole ground that the natural or legal person is established in another Member State.

The authorisation shall cover the activities referred to in Article 14(3).

 

Justification

It follows from the amendment to article 14(3) and clarifies the need for the prevention of possible abuse or evasion of excise duties.

Amendment  24

Proposal for a directive

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – introductory part

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Excise goods may be moved under suspension of excise duty within the territory of the Community:

1. Excise goods may be moved under suspension of excise duty between two points within the territory of the Community, including if the goods are moved through a third country or through a region in a third country:

Justification

It specifies the conditions for the movement of excise goods when under suspension of excise duty.

Amendment  25

Proposal for a directive

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – point a – point ii

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(ii) a natural or legal person authorised by the competent authorities of the Member State of destination, under the conditions fixed by those authorities, to receive excise goods moving under suspension of excise duty dispatched from another Member State, hereinafter the "registered consignee";

(ii) the premises of a registered consignee;

Justification

It follows from the amendments to article 4.

Amendment  26

Proposal for a directive

Article 16 – paragraph 1 – point b

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) from the place of importation to any of the destinations referred to in point (a), where those goods are dispatched by a natural or legal person authorised for that purpose by the competent authorities of the Member State of importation, under the conditions fixed by those authorities, hereinafter the "registered consignor".

(b) from the place of importation to any of the destinations or consignees referred to in point (a), where those goods are dispatched by a registered consignor.

Justification

It is consistent with the amendments to article 4.

Amendment  27

Proposal for a directive

Article 18 – paragraph 2 – subparagraph 2 – introductory wording

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

A registered consignee authorised for the purposes of the first subparagraph shall comply with the following requirements:

A temporary registered consignee authorised for the purposes of the first subparagraph shall comply with the following requirements:

Justification

The proposal includes the concepts of 'registered consignee' and 'temporary registered consigned'. These concepts should correspond to those of 'registered trader' and 'non-registered trader' as used in Directive 92/12/EEC.

Amendment  28

Proposal for a directive

Article 20 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. A movement of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if it takes place under cover of an electronic administrative document processed in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3.

1. A movement of excise goods shall be considered to take place under suspension of excise duty only if it takes place under cover of an electronic administrative document processed in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3. The Member States and the Commission shall to this end take the necessary measures to implement key public facilities at national level and to ensure their interoperability.

Justification

In accordance with the Directive on electronic signatures, it is important, in order for an electronic document to have the same legal validity as a document signed by hand, for the public key facilities needed for electronic signatures to be implemented in all the Member States, and to ensure the interoperability of the national systems.

Amendment  29

Proposal for a directive

Article 22

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The competent authority of the Member State of dispatch may allow, under the conditions fixed by that Member State, that the consignor, using the computerised system, splits a movement under suspension of excise duty of energy products into two or more movements provided that the total quantity of excise goods does not change.

The competent authority of the Member State of dispatch may allow, under the conditions fixed by that Member State, that the consignor, using the computerised system, splits a movement under suspension of excise duty of energy products into two or more movements provided that:

 

(a) the total quantity of excise goods does not change; and

 

(b) the splitting is carried out on the territory of a Member State which permits such a procedure.

Member States may also provide that such a splitting may not be carried out on their territory.

Member States shall inform the Commission if and under which conditions they allow splitting consignments on their territory. The Commission shall transmit that information to the other Member States.

Justification

It introduces two conditions - (a) and (b) - if the "consignor" wishes to split "a" movement under suspension into two or more movements, and an obligation to undertaken by the Member States in informing the Commission of the authorised splitting consignments.

Amendment  30

Proposal for a directive

Article 28

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Member States may establish simplified procedures in respect of movements under suspension of excise duty which take place entirely on their territory.

Member States may establish simplified procedures in respect of movements under suspension of excise duty which take place entirely on their territory, including the possibility of waiving the requirement of electronic supervision of such movements.

Justification

This is an additional obligation imposed on the Member States, which allows them to waive the requirement of electronic supervision when such cases are justified.

Amendment  31

Proposal for a directive

Article 29

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

The Member States concerned may, by agreement, establish simplified procedures for the purposes of the following movements under suspension of excise duty:

By agreement and under conditions fixed by all the Member States concerned, simplified procedures may be established for the purpose of frequent and regular movements under suspension of excise duty which occur on the territories of two or more Member States.

(1) frequent and regular movements between certain economic operators in two or more Member States;

This provision includes movements via fixed pipelines.

(2) frequent and regular movements between certain economic operators in a single Member State via another Member State;

 

(3) movements via fixed pipelines between two or more Member States.

 

Justification

This is a redrafting intended to simplify the procedure and the legal act.

Amendment  32

Proposal for a directive

Article 30 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

As regards excise goods other than manufactured tobacco acquired by private individuals, the first subparagraph shall also apply in cases where the goods are transported on their behalf.

deleted

Justification

This amendment seeks to eliminate the possibility of misuse of excise goods.

Amendment  33

Proposal for a directive

Article 30 – paragraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

2a. For the purposes of applying paragraph 2(e), Member States may lay down guide levels, solely as a form of evidence. Those guide levels shall be at least:

 

(a) for tobacco products:

 

- cigarettes - 800 items

 

- cigarillos (cigars weighing not more than 3 g each) - 400 items

 

- cigars - 200 items

 

- smoking tobacco - 1,0 kg;

 

(b) for alcoholic beverages:

 

- spirit drinks - 10 l

 

- intermediate products - 20 l

 

- wines (including a maximum of 60 l of sparkling wines) - 90 l

 

- beers - 110 l.

Justification

This amendment seeks to maintain the quantitative limits laid down in Directive 92/12/CEE, article 9 (2), in order to prevent any discretional treatment by the authorities of Member States.

Amendment  34

Proposal for a directive

Article 34 – paragraph 4 – point a

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(a) register his identity with the tax authorities of the Member State of dispatch of the excise goods;

(a) register his identity with the competent authorities of the Member State of dispatch of the excise goods and obtain an identification document from those authorities;

Justification

This added requirement is meant to limit any abuse.

Amendment  35

Proposal for a directive

Article 37 – paragraph 3 – subparagraph 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

The Member State which issued the markings or marks may nevertheless subject the reimbursement, remittance or release of the amount paid or guaranteed to proof that those markings or marks have been removed or destroyed.

Justification

This added condition is meant to clarify the procedure and speedy reimbursement of an amount paid or guaranteed when excise goods markings or marks have been removed or destroyed.

Amendment  36

Proposal for a directive

Article 42

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Directive 92/12/EEC is repealed with effect from [1 April 2009].

Directive 92/12/EEC is repealed with effect from 1 April 2010.

 

Directive 92/12/EEC shall, however, continue to apply within the limits and for the purposes defined in Article 43.

References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table set out in the Annex.

References to the repealed Directive shall be construed as references to this Directive and shall be read in accordance with the correlation table set out in the Annex.

Justification

This amendment is an important modification and should be considered in conjunction with the ones proposed to article 43. It essentially allows for an extra year before the new EMCS system comes into force and some provisions of Directive 92/12/EEC will remain applicable for some time.

Amendment  37

Proposal for a directive

Article 43 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

Until [31 December 2009], Member States of dispatch may continue to allow movements of excise goods under suspension of excise duty to be initiated under cover of the formalities set out in Articles 15(6) and Article 18 of Directive 92/12/EEC.

Until 31 December 2010, Member States of dispatch may continue to allow movements of excise goods under suspension of excise duty to be initiated under cover of the formalities set out in Articles 15(6) and Article 18 of Directive 92/12/EEC.

Justification

An additional year is proposed for the deadline for the application of the Directive and the implementation of the computerised system.

Amendment  38

Proposal for a directive

Article 43 –paragraph 3 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

 

Movements of excise goods which were initiated before 1 April 2010 shall be carried out and discharged in accordance with the provisions of Directive 92/12/EEC. This Directive shall not apply to those movements.

Justification

It follows from amendment on Article 43 - subparagraph 1, allowing for a transitional arrangement.

Amendment  39

Proposal for a directive

Article 44 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Member States shall adopt and publish, by [28 February 2009] at the latest, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and this Directive.

1. Member States shall adopt and publish, by 28 February 2010, the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive. They shall forthwith communicate to the Commission the text of those provisions and a correlation table between those provisions and this Directive.

Justification

It is consistent with the amendments concerning the transitional period.

Amendment  40

Proposal for a directive

Article 44 – paragraph 1 – subparagraph 2

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

They shall apply those provisions from [1 April 2009].

They shall apply those provisions from 1 April 2010.

Justification

It is consistent with the amendments concerning the transitional period.

PROCEDURE

Title

General arrangements for excise duty

References

COM(2008)0078 – C6-0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS)

Committee responsible

ECON

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

ITRE

11.3.2008

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Manuel António dos Santos

13.6.2008

 

 

Discussed in committee

26.6.2008

10.9.2008

 

 

Date adopted

7.10.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

35

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Jan Březina, Jerzy Buzek, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Giles Chichester, Dragoş Florin David, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Den Dover, Nicole Fontaine, Norbert Glante, András Gyürk, Mary Honeyball, Ján Hudacký, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Werner Langen, Pia Elda Locatelli, Eluned Morgan, Angelika Niebler, Reino Paasilinna, Atanas Paparizov, Francisca Pleguezuelos Aguilar, Miloslav Ransdorf, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Paul Rübig, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Nikolaos Vakalis, Adina-Ioana Vălean

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Manuel António dos Santos, Juan Fraile Cantón, Neena Gill, Pierre Pribetich, Silvia-Adriana Ţicău, Vladimir Urutchev

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

José Javier Pomés Ruiz

(1)

OJ L 162, 1.7.2003, p. 5.

(2)

OJ L 76, 23.3.1992, p. 1. Directive as last amended by Directive 2004/106/EC (OJ L 359, 4.12.2004, p. 30).

(3)

OJ L 302, 19.10.1992, p. 1). Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EC) No 1791/2006 (OJ L 363, 20.12.2006, p. 1).


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (11.9.2008)

for the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

on the proposal for a Council directive on general arrangements for excise duty

(COM(2008)0078 – C6‑0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS))

Rapporteur: Bill Newton Dunn

SHORT JUSTIFICATION

The proposal seeks to review Directive 92/12/EEC on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty. This Directive ensures the proper functioning of the internal market with regard to general issues connected with the free movement of excise goods. The main objective of the proposal is to provide a legal framework for the use of the Excise Movement Control System.(1) The EMCS creates a more efficient means of information exchange between excise authorities. Moreover, it will facilitate trade by reducing related costs. The proposed text also aims to update the Directive to take account of legal developments and to simplify and modernise excise procedures with the aim of reducing excise obligations for traders.

The draftsperson supports the proposal, but suggests improvements along the following lines:

· In modernising EU rules on excise duties the new rules should enhance the functioning of the Internal Market. The freedom of movement for excise goods will become more and more a reality for European citizens as e-commerce and distance sales increase. At this moment trade of excisable products remains subject to burdensome administrative procedures and still requires extensive control due to the widely diverging rates of excise duties. A gradual harmonisation of excise duty within the European Union would be the best remedy to such a situation.

· The proposed text restricts Tax Free shopping to flight or sea crossings to a third country. This means abandoning Tax Free shops at land crossings because at land borders it is far more difficult to prevent possible evasion, avoidance or abuse. Although this is a valid argument and most member states have already closed their Tax Free shops at land borders, there are a few exceptions notably in Greece and Romania. Your rapporteur agrees with these exemptions because some border regions are economically vulnerable and employment is scarce. However in order to avoid inequality between Member States, those exemptions must normally only remain if the Tax Free shops are at the external borders of the EU.

· The proposal does not clarify the position of Tax Free shops situated at regional airports that mainly serve short distance traffic. Your rapporteur would like to guarantee the right of regional airports to continue to sell Duty Free for passengers who are flying to an international EU airport in order to connect with a flight to somewhere outside the EU.

AMENDMENTS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following amendments in its report:

Amendment  1

Proposal for a directive

Recital 2 a (new)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

2a. To enhance the functioning of the internal market, further efforts should be made to come to a gradual harmonisation of excise duties within the European Union, while taking into account aspects such as public health, the protection of the environment and the budget.

Justification

A gradual harmonisation of excise duty within the European Union in the medium term would be the best remedy to enhance the functioning of the Internal Market. This should however be done in relation to Members States policy objectives to discourage the consumption of excise goods (alcoholic beverages, manufactured tobacco and energy products).

Amendment  2

Proposal for a directive

Article 13 – paragraph 1

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

1. Member States may exempt from payment of excise duty excise goods supplied by tax-free shops which are carried away in the personal luggage of travellers taking a flight or sea-crossing to a third territory or to a third country.

1. Member States may exempt from payment of excise duty excise goods supplied by tax-free shops which are carried away in the personal luggage of travellers to a third territory or a third country.

Justification

Existing Duty free shops at the external EU land-borders should remain in order to assist economically less-developed areas

Amendment  3

Proposal for a directive

Article 13 – paragraph 4 – point (b)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(b) 'tax-free shop’ means any establishment situated within an airport or port which fulfils the conditions laid down by the competent public authorities, pursuant in particular to paragraph 3;

(b) 'tax-free shop’ means any establishment situated within an airport or a port or at a land crossing to a third territory or a third country which fulfils the conditions laid down by the competent public authorities, pursuant in particular to paragraph 3;

Justification

Follows AM 2

Amendment  4

Proposal for a directive

Article 13 – paragraph 4 – point (c)

Text proposed by the Commission

Amendment

(c) ‘traveller to a third territory or to a third country’ means any passenger holding a transport document, for air or sea travel, stating that the immediate destination is an airport or port situated in a third territory or a third country.

(c) ‘traveller to a third territory or to a third country’ includes also any passenger holding a transport document, for air or sea travel, stating that the final destination is an airport or port situated in a third territory or a third country.

Justification

Tax Free shopping at (regional) airports should remain possible for passengers with a connecting flight outside the EU.

PROCEDURE

Title

General arrangements for excise duty

References

COM(2008)0078 – C6-0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS)

Committee responsible

ECON

Opinion by

       Date announced in plenary

IMCO

11.3.2008

 

 

 

Drafts(wo)man

       Date appointed

Bill Newton Dunn

25.3.2008

 

 

Discussed in committee

28.5.2008

24.6.2008

9.9.2008

 

Date adopted

10.9.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

38

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Godfrey Bloom, Cristian Silviu Buşoi, Charlotte Cederschiöld, Gabriela Creţu, Mia De Vits, Janelly Fourtou, Evelyne Gebhardt, Martí Grau i Segú, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Christopher Heaton-Harris, Iliana Malinova Iotova, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Kurt Lechner, Lasse Lehtinen, Catiuscia Marini, Arlene McCarthy, Nickolay Mladenov, Catherine Neris, Bill Newton Dunn, Zita Pleštinská, Giovanni Rivera, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Leopold Józef Rutowicz, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Eva-Britt Svensson, Marianne Thyssen, Jacques Toubon, Bernadette Vergnaud, Barbara Weiler, Marian Zlotea

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Emmanouil Angelakas, Colm Burke, Giovanna Corda, András Gyürk, Joel Hasse Ferreira, Filip Kaczmarek, Manuel Medina Ortega

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Eugenijus Gentvilas, Bilyana Ilieva Raeva

(1)

Decision No 1152/2003/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 June 2003 on computerising the movement and surveillance of excisable products.


PROCEDURE

Title

General arrangements for excise duty

References

COM(2008)0078 – C6-0099/2008 – 2008/0051(CNS)

Date of consulting Parliament

4.3.2008

Committee responsible

       Date announced in plenary

ECON

11.3.2008

Committee(s) asked for opinion(s)

       Date announced in plenary

CONT

11.3.2008

ITRE

11.3.2008

IMCO

11.3.2008

REGI

11.3.2008

 

AGRI

11.3.2008

 

 

 

Not delivering opinions

       Date of decision

CONT

26.3.2008

REGI

8.4.2008

AGRI

31.3.2008

 

Rapporteur(s)

       Date appointed

Astrid Lulling

11.3.2008

 

 

Discussed in committee

16.7.2008

7.10.2008

 

 

Date adopted

13.10.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

17

2

10

Members present for the final vote

Mariela Velichkova Baeva, Paolo Bartolozzi, Zsolt László Becsey, Pervenche Berès, Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Sharon Bowles, Udo Bullmann, Manuel António dos Santos, Elisa Ferreira, José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Robert Goebbels, Donata Gottardi, Benoît Hamon, Karsten Friedrich Hoppenstedt, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Wolf Klinz, Christoph Konrad, Guntars Krasts, Astrid Lulling, John Purvis, Eoin Ryan, Antolín Sánchez Presedo, Olle Schmidt, Margarita Starkevičiūtė, Cornelis Visser

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Harald Ettl, Thomas Mann, Margaritis Schinas

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Jan Cremers

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