Full text 
Monday, 18 May 2015 - Strasbourg Revised edition

19. Rules on VAT and VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) for digital services, books and papers in the EU (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Presidente. – L'ordine del giorno reca la dichiarazione della Commissione sulle norme in materia di IVA e mini sportello unico per l'IVA per i servizi digitali, i libri e i giornali nell'UE (2015/2682(RSP)).


  Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, I would like first of all to state that the Commission has already started to explore ways to implement the definitive VAT regime. This regime should be based on the principle of taxation at the place of destination. Reviewing the scope of the application of reduced rates is part of this exercise.

In general, it is important that the VAT system be applied fairly and efficiently, without giving any sector or any business an advantage, nor inviting the relocation of activities within the EU based on VAT rules. The Commission intends to communicate its vision of the main features of a future definitive VAT regime next year. The current tax treatment of e—services, such as digital books and the digital press, will be reviewed in this framework. I would personally support an initiative for reduced rates on e—books and the digital press.

On the taxation of the digital economy, I am also fully aware of the complaints which we have received, mainly from the United Kingdom, on the impact of the new 2015 VAT rules on microbusinesses. In the digital single market strategy, the Commission will come up with proposals in 2016 to reduce the administrative burden on businesses relating to VAT; the extension of the current single electronic registration and payment mechanism to intra-EU and third country on-line sales of tangible goods; the introduction of an EU-wide simplification measure in the form of a VAT threshold to help small start-up e-commerce businesses; and the possibility to carry out so-called home country controls, which means a single VAT audit framework for cross-border businesses.


  Andreas Schwab, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. Herr Präsident! Herr Vizepräsident, vielen Dank zunächst einmal dafür, dass Sie heute Abend da sind. Ich möchte ganz kurz aus einer Entschließung des Europäischen Parlaments aus dem Jahr 2013 zur Vollendung des digitalen Binnenmarkts zitieren. Wir haben dort schon einmal unter Ziffer 51 ausdrücklich betont, dass sichergestellt werden muss, dass die Verbraucher nicht auf Hindernisse stoßen, wenn sie elektronische Bücher grenz-, plattform- oder geräteübergreifend erwerben wollen. Bis heute hat die Europäische Kommission dazu nicht viel geliefert. Ihre Ausführungen, Herr Vizepräsident, haben den Eindruck jetzt auch nicht bestärkt, dass Sie unmittelbar davor stehen, entsprechende Aktionen einzuleiten.

Dabei ist offensichtlich, Herr Vizepräsident, dass der Leser eines Buches doch den gleichen Mehrwertsteuersatz für diese Leistung bezahlen muss, egal ob er dieses Buch als Hardcopy oder als digitale Dienstleistung in Anspruch nimmt. Es lässt sich einfach nicht erklären, warum dafür zwei unterschiedliche Mehrwertsteuersätze fällig werden sollen. Deswegen möchte ich im Namen der EVP-Fraktion ganz ausdrücklich darum bitten, dass wir möglichst zügig damit beginnen, das Urteil, das gegen Frankreich und gegen Luxemburg erging, im Lichte einer Gleichbehandlung vergleichbarer Dienste im europäischen Binnenmarkt zu prüfen und schnellstmöglich mit einer Veränderung der Mehrwertsteuerrichtlinie im Hinblick auf eine Einheitlichkeit der Besteuerung im digitalen Binnenmarkt voranzukommen.

Herr Vizepräsident! Zweitens – die Zeit ist knapp bemessen, deswegen möchte ich gleich zum zweiten Punkt kommen: Nicht nur bei der Mehrwertsteuer ist eine Einheitlichkeit der Besteuerung verschiedener Dienste, oder in dem Falle jetzt einer entsprechenden Hardcopyn notwendig, sondern wir müssen auch für die kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen, die ja in diesem digitalen Binnenmarkt ihren Heimatmarkt entwickeln sollen, dringend nach Vereinfachungsmöglichkeiten suchen. Deswegen begrüße ich im digitalen Zeitalter ganz ausdrücklich den one stop shop gerade für kleinere Unternehmen.

Herr Vizepräsident, ich darf Ihnen zurufen: Die EVP-Fraktion wird an Ihrer Seite stehen, wenn es darum geht, mit den 28 Mitgliedstaaten darüber zu verhandeln, was wir tun können, um diese Erleichterungen am Ende auch bei den kleinen und mittleren Unternehmen ankommen zu lassen.


  Neena Gill, on behalf of the S&D Group. Mr President, Commissioner Ansip acknowledges that by creating a connected digital single market, we can generate up to EUR 250 billion of additional growth in Europe, thereby creating hundreds and thousands of new jobs and a vibrant knowledge-based society. But Commissioner, to achieve this we do need several regulatory reforms and one of these is the tax treatment of digital products. I do support the need for alignment of VAT rates to ensure we have a level playing field and to eliminate distortion of competition, and tackling VAT fraud should remain a priority, but it is important not to forget the proportionality principle.

So when on 1 January 2015 the new VAT rules on digital products sold in the EU came into force, which means that they are chargeable in the place of purchase rather than the place of supply, this resulted in many EU businesses having to register an account for VAT in every single Member State. I have been contacted by many new—tech SMEs which have been adversely affected and are on the point of closing down. So we do need to address this issue.

For example, in the UK, there are about 240 000 designers of knitting and sewing patterns which are sold as PDF downloads. They are struggling in terms of the cost of compliance, especially if they trade across borders. They face something like EUR 5 000 annually for each Member State. So I am not sure how we are going to achieve the digital single market if we have regulations like this. European SMEs also face distortions from VAT-free goods supplied by non-EU businesses.

So I welcome what you have said in terms of introducing legislation and simplifying measures, but I do think it is important that we get the right level of threshold that enables a higher number of digital start-ups, and that means exemptions for them.

There are some important issues, Commissioner, that you do have to address. How are you going to achieve a threshold given that you need the agreement of 28 Member States? Secondly, what will the level of the threshold be? In the UK, it is GBP 81 000, but I think we may need to go lower if we are to achieve our ambitions.


  Syed Kamall, on behalf of the ECR Group. Mr President, I would like you all to imagine for a moment that you have just set up a small digital business. Perhaps you sell e—books or knitting patterns online. You have heard about the digital single market, and you are excited to think that you can sell to customers not only in your own country, but across the whole EU. You know that you need to register for VAT but when you look into it, you find that you need to keep accounts for up to 10 years and calculate up to 88 different VAT rates set by the countries you sell to. Someone tells you that you can automate the process, but you find the system either does not work, or that you have to sell through an online marketplace that charges you a large fee and may interrupt your sales process to sell other products to your customers.

So what do you do? Do you feel inspired by this new digital single market, or do you give up and shut up shop? Well, EU VAT Action and Enterprise Nation, who represent digital entrepreneurs, tell me that thousands of their members are closing down. So while the Commission champions the digital single market, EU rules since January 2015 are strangling digital businesses to death with red tape.

Now we all know that these rules are well-meaning and introduced to tackle abuses by multinational companies, so why do we not introduce a threshold – or even an exemption – a limit below which digital entrepreneurs could continue as before, and then when their businesses grow larger, bring them into this new system? Let us not forget that every large business started as a small business. Most great entrepreneurs started with nothing. So if the EU is to be a place for aspiration and opportunity and we are to create this digital single market, then we need to help them. Let us listen to the digital entrepreneurs asking for our help. Let us introduce a threshold or an exemption to save their micro-businesses. Let us cut the red tape to make the digital single market a reality for them.


  Sophia in ‘t Veld, on behalf of the ALDE Group. Mr President, I think it is a good sign that we are having this debate with the Commissioner in charge of the digital market, although I am wondering who is really in charge, because I would say that this is a taxation matter.

I have been doing a bit of digging, and sometimes that gives you funny results. For example, Commissioner, one of the first questions relating to the application of the higher VAT rate to e-books was introduced by Mrs Thyssen, who was then a Member of Parliament and who is now actually your colleague. Mrs Thyssen was very worried about the higher VAT rates on, I quote, ʽbooks published on CD-Rom or DVDʼ. Now that was in 2009 – the Commission has not even started to think about solutions but CD-Roms are no longer used for e-books.

So the key words here are speed and urgency. Because I have also submitted a series of questions over the years, and in the answer to one of my questions in 2013 the Commission replied that it ʽis currently examining this issueʼ – blah di blah di blah – ʽand these elements will be taken on board in completing the impact...ʼ. In other words, already back in 2013 the Commission was looking into it.

So what are you waiting for? The digital market, as you well know Commissioner, is developing much more rapidly than this. We are legislating at Flintstone speed but the digital market is moving on. It is not waiting for us, and if you say 2016, well by then so many small businesses will have gone down already because they cannot survive.

Why does the Commission have to wait until 2016? Why cannot you just start tomorrow? If, Commissioner, you go back to the Commission and to the Member States and tell them that we need action now, I think that the whole Parliament will back you up because everybody here is echoing the same message. So I would say, Commissioner, let us get to work tomorrow.


  Matt Carthy, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group. Mr President, the new rules on VAT, as other speakers have said, are obviously designed with positive intentions, but in fact if they are implemented as proposed they could have serious harmful and destructive effects on small businesses and sole traders. The Commission contends that the rules will introduce a level playing field, as they mean that sellers will not be in a position to undercut competitors unfairly by using a lower VAT rate. However, because there is no threshold, the real impact is that the smallest companies and sole traders are going to be left unable to compete and they are going to face the stark reality of having to close their businesses down in some instances.

Moreover, it creates a divide between multinational companies, who can very easily put in place systems to comply with the new rules, and those small traders and small businesses that simply cannot do so. Small and medium enterprises, as you are well aware, Commissioner, are the lifeblood of many local domestic economies including my own, and they cannot be disregarded when we are introducing measures such as this.


  Helga Trüpel, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. Herr Präsident, Herr Kommissar! Es gibt viele gute kulturpolitische Gründe, warum es einen reduzierten Mehrwertsteuersatz für gedruckte Bücher, gedruckte Zeitungen und gedruckte Magazine gibt. Deswegen ist es auch richtig, zu sagen, wenn es um digitale Dienstleistung geht – die e-books, e-papers und e-magazines, dass es dann auch richtig ist, dass der reduzierte Mehrwertsteuersatz für diese Produkte gilt. Wenn man an die UNESCO-Konvention zum Schutz der kulturellen Vielfalt denkt, so ist dort festgehalten, dass kulturelle Güter nie nur Waren wie andere sind, sondern Träger von Sinn und Bedeutung und deswegen auch anders reguliert werden dürfen.

Jetzt will ich aber nicht verhehlen, dass es natürlich auch noch eine ganz andere Debatte gibt, nämlich dass es mittlerweile zu viele Ausnahmen von der Mehrwertsteuer gibt und dass es gute Gründe gibt, hier zu einer größeren Vereinheitlichung zu kommen, um zu mehr Gerechtigkeit und klareren Regeln beizutragen. Aber ich möchte noch mal betonen: Solange es den reduzierten Mehrwertsteuersatz für gedruckte Bücher und Zeitungen gibt, muss das auch für die digitale Welt gelten, für die digitalen Dienstleistungen wie e-books, e-papers und e-magazines.

Und ich bin auch der Meinung, dass die Kommission hier ganz schnell handeln muss. Wir haben keine Zeit zu verlieren, sondern hier ist dringender Handlungsbedarf gegeben. Und deswegen möchte ich Sie auch auffordern: Handeln Sie schnell, und lassen Sie keine weitere Zeit verstreichen!


  Dario Tamburrano, a nome del gruppo EFDD. Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Commissario Ansip, l'abbiamo ascoltata con piacere la scorsa settimana a Bruxelles. Riteniamo che il mercato unico digitale non potrà fiorire, infatti, se non verranno rese omogenee le aliquote IVA applicate a beni e servizi acquistati sul web.

Siamo pertanto a favore di un'aliquota IVA ridotta anche per i beni e i servizi digitali come gli e-book, rivedendo già nel 2015, quindi, la direttiva europea relativa all'IVA. Riteniamo corretto che, come accade attualmente, l'IVA per tali acquisti sia pagata nel paese membro di destinazione dell'acquirente, ma riteniamo d'altronde necessario che tale aliquota sia omogenea in tutto il territorio dell'Unione europea.

Quest'ultima è una condizione necessaria per una rapida eliminazione del problematico geoblocking, per cui alcuni contenuti sono disponibili in alcuni Stati membri e in altri no. Il geoblocking, allo stato attuale delle cose, rappresenta l'unico modo con cui alcune aziende, specie le più piccole, le medie imprese e le start-up, possono evitare di avere a che fare con 28 regimi IVA differenti.

L'odierna discussione è un'occasione per evidenziare l'urgenza di andare quanto prima verso un'aliquota omogenea ridotta, quindi, per i servizi digitali, gli e-book, i libri e i giornali. Ciò sarebbe un immediato vantaggio per le imprese e i cittadini e accelererebbe il lungo e complesso percorso appena avviato verso il digital single market.

Ci auguriamo che non venga perso altro tempo prezioso. Molte imprese europee stanno fallendo a favore dei competitor extraeuropei.


  Dominique Bilde (NI). Monsieur le Président, les nouvelles technologies sont indiscutablement un moyen démocratique de permettre à tous un accès égal à la culture et à l'information. Néanmoins, ce constat ne doit pas occulter le véritable problème qui est la baisse constante de la lecture en Europe. Cette question de la relance de la lecture prend toute sa place dans ce débat, mais je reste persuadée que la réduction de la TVA pour les livres numériques n'est pas la solution adéquate au problème posé.

À ce titre, la directive 2006/112/CE, qui indique que des taux réduits ne peuvent être appliqués sur les services numériques, doit être maintenue en l'état car une réduction envisagée de la TVA dans ce secteur mettra à mal toute une partie de notre économie, c'est-à-dire les librairies, notamment indépendantes, et les emplois indirects qui en découlent, dans l'imprimerie et l'édition. J'ai d'ailleurs pu le constater dernièrement dans mon pays, la France, avec la liquidation des librairies Chapitre et la perte de plus de 500 emplois.

Ce taux réduit de TVA ne favorise en fait que les grandes multinationales américaines comme Amazon et Google, leaders sur ce marché du numérique, qui pratiquent l'optimisation fiscale en Europe et créent ainsi une concurrence déloyale.

Les véritables questions que nous devons nous poser aujourd'hui sont pourtant simples: comment relancer la lecture en Europe? De quels moyens disposons-nous pour soutenir nos librairies et pérenniser des milliers d'emplois? Enfin, comment lutter efficacement contre les stratégies d'évasion fiscale des grandes multinationales, qui mettent un peu plus chaque jour l'Union européenne dans la situation de celle qui subit plutôt que dans la situation de celle qui agit?


  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). Pane předsedající, já jsem se zájmem vyslechl pana místopředsedu Komise a chci konstatovat, že jsem vždycky podporoval nízké a jednoduché daně.

Příklad elektronických knih, o kterém zde dnes debatujeme, jasně ukazuje, že pokud je daňový systém složitý a má celou řadu výjimek, pak s tím přichází výkladové problémy. Pokud tyto problémy odstraňuje justice a soud, často dochází k absurdním situacím. Příkladem je právě případ vztahu tištěných knih a elektronických knih, kdy různé médium, různý nosič informací je různě zdaněn. Já bych byl rád, pane místopředsedo Komise, kdybyste právě tento případ vnímali jako příklad toho, jak nefungují výjimky a nefunguje složitý daňový systém. Pokud hovoříte o tom, že Komise připravuje definitivní režim DPH, tak abyste se z tohoto případu poučili. Protože problém, dle mého názoru, není v rozhodnutí Soudního dvora Evropské unie. Já jsem ten rozsudek četl a ten rozsudek je podle mého názoru správný. Problém je v té směrnici, která nepřesně a nejasně upravuje výjimky. Měli bychom se tedy bavit o tom, pokud výjimky, jak mají být nadefinovány, a pokud ano, tak v co nejmenším možném rozsahu.

Já vás prosím, abyste problém odstranili, a stejně jako kolegové apeluji na podporu digitálního trhu. Jsem přesvědčen, že absurdní situace, kdy pouze rozdílný nosič přináší dvojí DPH pro knihy, na jedné straně knihy tištěné a na druhé straně knihy elektronické, měla být již dávno odtraněna. Prosím tedy, odstraňte to v zájmu rozvoje jednotného digitálního trhu.


  Tibor Szanyi (S&D). Minden olyan intézkedés, kezdeményezés üdvözlendő, amely az EU-n belüli adózási gyakorlatokat egységesíti, egyszerűsíti, illetve átláthatóbbá teszi. És az a tény, hogy ez évtől a magánszemélyek részére nyújtott rádiós és audiovizuális médiaszolgáltatási, telekommunikációs, valamint az elektronikus úton nyújtott szolgáltatások adózásának mértékét a fogyasztó magánszemély tartózkodási helyének áfakulcsa határozza meg. Nos, ez kiemelten fontos az én hazám, a magyar vállalkozások számára, hiszen eddig ők óriási hátrányban voltak, hiszen az Unió legmagasabb, azaz 27%-os áfakulcsával nyújthattak csak szolgáltatást, értelemszerűen mindenki más olcsóbb volt náluk. Ugyanakkor azon felül, hogy ez önmagában felhívja a figyelmet a túladóztatás kérdésére, azért van még két olyan dolog, ami itt veszélyeket rejt magában.

Remélhetőleg majd mindezt egy európai adóunió megoldja, de amíg odáig elérünk, addig itt két veszéllyel szemben állunk. Az egyik az az, hogy a „mini one-stop shop” ötlete nagyon jónak tűnik, viszont itt figyelni kell arra, hogy az egyes szolgáltatók nehogy esetleg mondjuk éppen a legmagasabb tagállami adókulcs szerinti összegeket szedjék be. Ez azért fontos, mert néhány eurós szolgáltatásoknál ez bizony nem olyan feltűnő különbséget eredményez.

Illetve az is, hogy úgy torzuljon a kereskedelem, hogy bizonyos szolgáltatók csak egyféle piacra, vagy néhány piacra szolgáltatnak, ott, ahol az áfa a legkisebb. Éppen ezért azt kérem, azt javaslom, fontoljuk meg, hogy pont a leginkább európai és határok nélkül működő szolgáltatások esetében egy közös áfakulcsot határozzunk meg.


  Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski (ECR). Panie Przewodniczący! Panie Komisarzu! Mogę tylko bardzo gorąco wesprzeć apele o tempo działania – my żyjemy w czasach, w których, jeśli Europa przegrywa konkurencję ze Stanami Zjednoczonymi, z Azją, to dlatego, że działa wolniej. Wolniej niż inni. Rzeczywiście nie możemy czekać do 2016 r. na plan i program działań Komisji. W tym wypadku zbiegają się dwie dobre tendencje. Nowy biznes internetowy, małe przedsiębiorstwa, kreatywność gospodarcza, czyli coś, co trzeba w Europie szczególnie wspierać. Z drugiej strony – dobro kultury. Książka jest dobrem kultury, czasopismo specjalistyczne to też dobro kultury, które wymaga preferencyjnego traktowania, więc domagam się nie tylko uproszczenia procedur, ale także zdecydowanego zmniejszenia podatków. Komisja Europejska powinna zachęcić państwa członkowskie poprzez swoje decyzje do zmniejszenia obciążeń podatkowych w tej bardzo kreatywnej i ważnej branży.


  Dita Charanzová (ALDE). Mr President, one of the key priorities of the Commission is the digital single market strategy. The VAT on e—books, I think, is an excellent example where we can show that we are committed to this agenda and that we are able to deliver without delay to our citizens. I do not see any reason why I should pay twice as much in taxes on e—books than on books in their physical form. The rise in the price of e—books was never intended. It was an unforeseen consequence, an error, and now is the time to fix it. We all speak about the urgency of this topic.

I am looking forward to your VAT proposal in 2016, but meanwhile here is one suggestion: why do you not propose an urgent single sentence amendment to the 2006 VAT Directive allowing digital books, newspapers and magazines the same reductions already allowed for their physical counterparts? It would only require three words to be added to the Annex to fix it. The words are: ‘physical or digital’. Let us solve this in the simplest and quickest way possible. Let us make this an example where Europe sees an error and fixes it; where Europe embraces our digital future.


  Miguel Urbán Crespo (GUE/NGL). Señor Presidente, parece una buena idea que las grandes empresas tributen el IVA en el país del cliente con objeto de evitar la evasión fiscal que muchas realizan a través de paraísos fiscales como Luxemburgo. Lo que no es lógico es someter a esta carga administrativa insoportable a microempresas y cooperativas.

Si lo que buscaban con todo esto era proteger a los más débiles, una vez más han logrado lo contrario: muchas microempresas han tenido que echar el cierre o dejar de vender en Europa mientras que multinacionales como Google han aprovechado las circunstancias para absorber la actividad de venta de los pequeños desarrolladores.

La Comisión tiene ahora mismo poca credibilidad en su ánimo de combatir la evasión fiscal, sobre todo cuando sabemos que su Presidente colaboró activamente durante años para facilitar esta tarea a las grandes multinacionales.

Mientras la Unión Europea siga tolerando en su seno la existencia de paraísos fiscales, las grandes empresas podrán seguir hundiendo a las pequeñas y expoliando a la ciudadanía.


  Molly Scott Cato (Verts/ALE). Mr President, I would like to begin by thanking Commissioner Ansip for his attempts to build a digital single market, and in particular for his willingness to listen to the problems of the many small business people in the UK who have faced enormous difficulties with the shift in the VAT regime that came into force on 1 January. My understanding is that the Commission originally proposed a threshold for micro-businesses but that this was not taken up. I can only think that the digital economy has advanced rapidly since that time and that politicians had not managed to understand how it was changing.

On the positive side it has been really inspiring to see the creative enterprise that has been flourishing in my constituency and the wonderful potential there is for the digital economy to help us to build cultural and social links between the countries of our Union. These businesses are often run by the very people we seek to encourage into starting small businesses, especially women and those living in rural communities. They are now selling songs and teaching materials, knitting patterns and recipes, to customers in countries they may never have visited. But these businesses are fundamentally threatened, as other speakers have said, by the ending of the VAT exemption. I know that many of these entrepreneurs are already closing down their export operations or sometimes their whole business because the VAT regime is just too onerous.

I know that Commissioner Ansip has heard their cry for help but I would like to ask him to act swiftly and decisively to support the small businesses of the UK and other countries affected.


  Róża Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein (PPE). Panie Przewodniczący! Mogę tylko dołączyć się do tych głosów, które wyrażają swoje zadowolenie, że strategia jednolitego rynku cyfrowego i ogromne zaangażowanie przewodniczącego Ansipa doprowadzi zapewne jeszcze w czasie naszej kadencji do rozwiązania wielu problemów. Jednym z takich wyzwań jest to, że według wszystkich moich obserwacji i według eurobarometru, szczególnie mali i średni przedsiębiorcy uskarżają się na VAT.

Ostatnio rozmawiałam z przedsiębiorcą, który sprzedaje koszule szyte na miarę do 9 krajów. Rozwijałby się on w zawrotnym tempie, gdyby nie to, że VAT, w każdym kraju inny, dostarcza mu tylu problemów. Nie wiem, czy państwo zdają sobie sprawę z tego, że przedsiębiorcy, którzy handlują transgranicznie, rozliczają się według ponad 60 reżimów VAT. Bo nie tylko VAT jest inny w każdym kraju, ale każdy produkt jest inny.

W ten sposób przechodzimy do publikacji książek czy innych treści, jak czasopisma, gazety – na papierze czy w formie elektronicznej. Jest to kolejna bariera dla producentów, dla wydawców i dla autorów, która nie podnosi poziomu czytelnictwa, kolejna bariera, na którą uskarżają się właściwie wszyscy konsumenci w państwach członkowskich, a również ci, którzy tymi książkami handlują – a dzisiaj nie da się już rozdzielić treści w formie papierowej od treści w formie elektronicznej.

Jeżeli nie zajmiemy się zaraz tym tematem, niedługo mogą do tego wszystkiego, o czym mówimy, dojść jeszcze inne nośniki. Ważna jest treść i ważne jest, żeby Europejczyk z tą treścią mógł się zapoznawać w sposób jak najbardziej otwarty. Dlatego apeluję jeszcze raz: umówienie się na wspólny VAT w Unii Europejskiej, zgoda na ten temat między państwami członkowskimi powinna być dla nas absolutnym priorytetem.


  Pervenche Berès (S&D). Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, si vos prédécesseurs avaient écouté ce Parlement européen, nous n'en serions pas là. Voilà en effet de nombreuses années que nous demandons l'alignement du taux de TVA entre le livre papier et le livre numérique. Il aura finalement fallu la condamnation de deux États membres par la Cour de justice pour que ce débat réapparaisse et qu'il soit, au sein du collège, remis sur le devant de la scène.

Il faut aller jusqu'au bout et il faut aller vite car il n'y a aucune raison que ce divorce entre les différentes technologies desserve ceux qui ont envie de faire profiter chacun de la culture et de la lecture. Mais il faut aussi s'assurer que, fondamentalement, cette neutralité technologique sera au rendez-vous. Il faudrait également, me semble-t-il, que la Cour de justice tienne compte de cette volonté exprimée ici par le législateur, notamment lorsque de nouvelles affaires lui seront soumises alors que nous n'aurons pas encore modifié la directive TVA.

Lors de ce débat, j'ai entendu des propos très confus et je crois qu'il faut faire la part des choses. Dans le marché unique numérique, nous voulons que ce soit aussi l'occasion d'une révision sérieuse de nos pratiques fiscales. Mais ce n'est pas parce que nous voulons une TVA réduite pour le livre électronique que nous voulons renoncer à une vraie fiscalité pour les géants de l'internet, qui profitent d'avantages comparatifs en pratiquant le dumping fiscal ou l'optimisation fiscale.

Ne mélangeons pas tous les débats. Traitons sérieusement chacun des sujets et ici, Monsieur le Commissaire, nous vous demandons d'aller vite pour faire respecter la neutralité technologique qui permette notamment de contribuer au développement de la culture, de la lecture, de la liberté de la presse et de l'expansion du numérique en Europe.


  Vicky Ford (ECR). Mr President, if our economies are to prosper and grow we must support small businesses and make sure that the market is fit for purpose in the digital age. The new rules for VAT collection in Europe do not do this. They might work for big businesses, but they have had a devastating impact on microbusinesses. Entrepreneurs have faced huge bureaucracy and costs just to collect taxes which sometimes add up to less than a euro.

A recent survey of 2 000 small companies suggested that a quarter of firms are now blocking overseas sales, and one in five has stopped selling altogether. That means they are not earning any money, and the authorities are not collecting any tax at all. We have promised to change the way the EU makes laws. We need to sort this out, and it needs to be done quickly. I think the easiest solution is an exemption, through a threshold, for micro entities, but that needs unanimous support from finance ministers. So ministers, do not wait; next year is too late. Our entrepreneurs need us now.


  Fredrick Federley (ALDE). Herr talman! Tack, kommissionär Ansip, för att vilja komma tillrätta med de orättvisor som vi kan se här på bordet just nu.

Samtidigt tycker jag att det är förvånande att höra att Europaparlamentet helt plötsligt pratar med en enda stark röst när vi samtidigt vet att det i den här kammaren inte alltid är så att man backar upp den digitala gemensamma marknaden.

När vi diskuterar andra saker som också är lika viktiga, t.ex. att få ordning på momssatserna, som handlar om att se till att vi har en nätneutralitet, när vi vill se till att vi får bort roamingavgifterna, när vi vill se till att vi ändrar copyrightreglerna för att de ska bli bättre, modernare och gynna företagsamhet i hela Europa, då är det fortfarande många här i kammaren och definitivt i medlemsstaterna som säger: Nej, stopp och belägg!

Det vore dock välkommet om vi efter den här debatten gemensamt i kammaren kunde arbeta för att skapa den digitala gemensamma marknaden, där vi inte säger nej till all typ av förändring utan frågar oss: Varför är USA bättre än oss på det digitala området, och vad behöver vi göra för att se till att vi blir bättre än de? Det är de frågor som den här kammaren framför allt borde ställa sig.


  Ева Паунова (PPE). Уважаеми г-н Председател, уважаеми вицепредседател на Европейската комисия, ако ме попитате с коя книга бих искала да се озова на пустинен остров, много лесно ще Ви отговоря – искам да отида с моя таблет, от който мога да чета всичките ми любими книги. Благодарение на дигитализацията можем да четем навсякъде, и нещо повече – да мислим за четенето по нов, още по-прагматичен и безкраен начин.

Вече е важно не просто да четем. Дигиталните технологии промениха процеса на четене и е важно ние да преоткрием и да не се лишаваме от уникалния шанс, който имаме благодарение на цифровизацията. Част от него например е по-лесният достъп до културно съдържание, заложен и в новата стратегия на Европейската комисия за Единен цифров пазар.

В ядрото на цифровия проект са потребителите и бизнесът. Сам по себе си процесът на промяна, на преход към Единния цифров пазар ще даде тласък не само на икономиката, но и на културното многообразие, на цялата европейска съкровищница и на новото образование.

Важна стъпка към изпълнението на ангажимента ни е уеднаквяването на правилата за ДДС за книги и дигитални услуги, чрез което ще се създаде нужната благоприятна среда и за предприемаческия начин на мислене, и за общественото включване в Европа, и за солидното самочувствие на гражданите на нашия континент. Това е и предпоставката да работим за по-ниски ставки на ДДС както за дигиталните, така и за печатните книги и издания в страни като България.


  Catherine Stihler (S&D). Mr President, I would like to thank Commissioner Ansip. Just two weeks ago, he presented his long-awaited and much-hyped digital single market strategy. The proposals, 16 of which are to be delivered in the next five years, are a step in the right direction. But they are by no means a silver bullet. As we have heard this evening, not all proposed initiatives seem to be working for SMEs and micro businesses. In fact, my Labour colleagues and I have received, and keep receiving, hundreds of e—mails from our constituents saying that the changes introduced from 1 January 2015 on new place of supply VAT rules, as well as the abolition of the UK threshold, which was GBP 81 000 in sales per year before people and businesses were eligible to pay VAT, have caused more obstacles when selling abroad rather than helping to eliminate them.

The Mini One-Stop Shop, the VAT MOSS, was set up in order to aid businesses when selling abroad. How can they adjust their prices accordingly if they do not know what the VAT regime is in the country they are selling to?

Commissioner, in your digital market strategy, there is a mention the Commission will make legislative proposals in 2016 to introduce a common EU-wide VAT threshold to help small businesses; but by the time it becomes law, we could well be in 2017 or 2018. What do we do to help businesses in the meantime? The current legislation was designed and agreed back in 2006. However, that is almost a decade ago. I was pleased to hear what you said about e-books and the treatment of e-books in relation to printed books. Currently, printed books have a special privilege and are taxed at a reduced rate between zero and 10% across the Union. E-books are considered a digital service, even if they are actually only a book in a different format, and they are taxed at a rate between 18% and 25% across the EU.

So I welcome your comments, but I would like to see the proposals on that fairness between the virtual and non-virtual coming sooner rather than later, so that consumers across the EU can benefit from your action.


  Anneleen Van Bossuyt (ECR). Wij willen als Europese Unie de e-commerce alle kansen geven. Helaas worden kleine spelers bedolven onder administratieve lasten. Daarom vraag ik - het is duidelijk dat meer mensen hier binnen het Parlement die vraag hebben - om aandacht voor de kmo’s bij de aanpassing van de bestaande wetgeving en bij de nieuwe regels die de Commissie tijdens deze legislatuur zal voorstellen.

Collega’s, het systeem zoals het vandaag bestaat voor de geautomatiseerde elektronische diensten is er zeker met de beste bedoelingen gekomen. Helaas zijn de gevolgen voor de kleinere bedrijven erg onderschat. Als rapporteur van het verslag over betere regelgeving wil ik dan ook voorstellen dat er een betere effectbeoordeling wordt verricht voor de nieuwe voorstellen inzake de onlinehandel in goederen.

99% van onze Europese bedrijven zijn kmo’s. Wij moeten leren uit het verleden en we moeten onze kmo’s de kans geven om verder te groeien. E-commerce in de Europese Unie moet meer zijn dan enkele grote spelers die de markt domineren. Ik ben dan ook gewonnen voor het voorstel voor de verruiming van het systeem naar goederen die online worden aangekocht, maar wel met de nodige aandacht voor de kmo’s en met zo min mogelijk administratieve lasten.


  Antanas Guoga (ALDE). Mr President, it is a pleasure to have the Commissioner and Vice—President here tonight. Commissioner, I am not sure if you are the right member of the Commission for this issue that we have with VAT. I can see the UK has a lot of problems with it; other countries are happy about the changes because smaller countries are sometimes at a disadvantage when there is competition in relation to taxation and VAT rates.

It is a very complex situation, and we tend to make things very complex in Europe, unfortunately. I would suggest something though, which is to change the name ‘e-book’ into simply ‘DC’ (digital content). We should just change it to DC because we no longer know what a book is or what it becomes, and once you open it up you have live content and you are doing something else with it. So let us start thinking ahead of the curve, forget the past and see where these things will be in the future. The future will be a digital content single market. We need to be proactive and not reactive. I know the Commissioner is himself, so I would say: be brave; make very simple decisions to simplify Europe – for businesses to understand how things work. Whatever the tax is, make it very easy so that they can pay it easily and not have to close down. That is all it is about. It is going to be difficult to agree on rates for all of us, but we can definitely make things very simple and understandable.


  Ildikó Gáll-Pelcz (PPE). Az Európai Unió Bíróságának nemrég született egy ítélete, ami arról szól, hogy a tagállamok számára lehetővé teszi, hogy a digitális formában tárolt könyveknek az áfáját csökkentsék. Innentől kezdve akár örülhetnénk is, azonban a kérdés megoldása nem ilyen egyszerű. Rögtön az első kérdés ott adódik, hogy mi is ez a digitális forma, mit tekintünk ebbe a körbe tartozónak. Aztán innentől kezdve már nem örülünk, mert kiderül, hogy csak azokat a könyveket, amelyek fizikai adathordozókon jelennek meg, CD-n, pendrive-on. Ugyanakkor például az internetről letöltött könyvek már szolgáltatásnak minősülnek.

Attól tartok, hogy minden kivétel, amit ezen a területen megalkotunk, csak bonyolítani fogja a rendszert. A mi érdekünk azonban egyáltalán nem ez, hanem az egyszerűsítés irányába szeretnénk menni, hiszen azt gondolom, minden felszólaló azt mondta, közös érdekünk az, hogy ezen a területen a vállalkozásaink, főként a kis- és középvállalkozások, amelyek tőkeszegényebbek, kevesebb lehetőséggel bírnak, versenyképessé váljanak. Tehát olyan szabályozást kellene megalkotnunk, hogy támogatni tudjuk ezeket a vállalkozásokat, amelyek jelentős versenyhátrányt szenvedtek el ezen a területen.

Ugyanakkor szeretném egy másik aspektusára is felhívni a figyelmet az áfacsökkentés kérdésének: jelesül annak, hogy ez egy költségvetési kérdés, a tagállamok kompetenciájába tartozó kérdés. Nem célunk a bonyolítás. Egyszerűsítés, gyorsítás és ennek az első lépése kell legyen egy nagyon jó jogszabály, ami a keretet megteremti erre.


  Alessia Maria Mosca (S&D). Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, non posso che aggiungere il mio apprezzamento a quanto già espresso dai colleghi per l'apertura da parte della Commissione nel ribadire l'impegno pubblico preso dal Presidente Juncker sulla questione dell'IVA sui prodotti digitali, così come le dichiarazioni rilasciate nel momento del suo insediamento su altri ostacoli alla creazione del mercato unico digitale.

Ma ora bisogna tradurre questi impegni in reali iniziative, e farlo rapidamente. Questo è il messaggio che unanimemente questo Parlamento questa sera sta indirizzando alla Commissione, perché il mercato unico digitale è la vera sfida che attende nel prossimo futuro l'Unione europea di proporzioni pari, forse, solo alla creazione del mercato unico.

Il digitale può essere la chiave attraverso cui l'Europa recupera competitività e innovazione, ma ha anche un ruolo centrale nella sfera culturale mondiale.

Non possiamo pensare di lavorare verso questo obiettivo se ancora non si vedono azioni efficaci per abbattere anacronistiche barriere come la permanenza di un'IVA diversa tra un libro cartaceo e un libro digitale.

Questo dibattito è fondamentale per l'Unione europea perché non stiamo discutendo di una questione tecnica, ma di cultura, di futuro, di promozione e attuazione nel concreto dell'unità nella diversità, che è il nostro DNA come cittadini europei.

Abbiamo lo sguardo rivolto al futuro ma siamo trattenuti da lacci e lacciuoli che appartengono a un'epoca passata e dobbiamo tagliarli per poterci muovere in avanti.

Per assumere il ruolo di guida in questa rivoluzione digitale che stiamo attraversando, l'Unione europea deve premurarsi di avere gli strumenti adatti e non avere freni che rallentino il nostro cammino.

Ciò di cui parliamo oggi rappresenta sicuramente un esempio e mi auguro che la Commissione sappia trovare con rapidità le soluzioni più adatte; il Parlamento sosterrà questo sforzo perché avvicinarsi ai cittadini passa anche attraverso queste iniziative.


  Marcus Pretzell (ECR). Herr Präsident, meine Damen und Herren! Ich finde es völlig richtig, was hier inhaltlich gesagt worden ist, sowohl zur Entlastung der KMU, auch von bürokratischen Hürden, als auch zur Vereinfachung des e-commerce und dazu, dass Bücher – egal ob sie in elektronischer Form oder in Papierform herausgegeben werden – letztlich den gleichen steuerlichen Regeln unterliegen. Ich glaube, dass das wichtig und richtig ist.

Ich glaube aber gleichzeitig, dass es notwendig ist, dass – wie der Europäische Gerichtshof betont hat – die europäischen Staaten, die Nationalstaaten, weiterhin die steuerliche Hoheit haben, zu bestimmen, welche steuerlichen Regelungen in ihren Staaten gelten. Das sollte auch die Kommission beachten, dass nicht jede sinnvolle Regelung auch immer auf europäischer Ebene getroffen werden muss. Manches kann auch weiterhin sinnvoll in den Nationalstaaten geregelt bleiben.


  Kaja Kallas (ALDE). Mr President, I am happy that my Group succeeded in putting this important issue on the agenda. The Commission needs to act fast on this issue. As many colleagues have pointed out, the digital world moves very fast, so we do not have three years, or even one year, to wait for the rules in order to make them adapt to the digital age.

I totally support the idea presented by my colleague Ms Charanzová about a simple solution to solve this issue. I also want to point out that while some argue that books on paper need the reduced rate because they wear out, it is not actually about the format. The reduced rate is needed to support the creation and writing of books, and also the reading of books. A book is a book in whatever format it is. Therefore, a proposal to adapt VAT rules to make them fit for the digital age could not come at a better moment.


  Siegfried Mureșan (PPE). Mr President, an important action in order to achieve a digital single market is to simplify VAT rules for digital goods and services in order to improve online access to them and allow fair competition. New changes to VAT rules for digital sales that entered into force this year were intended to prevent giant digital companies from being the only ones reaping the benefits of the digital single market.

However, the new rules could have counter-productive effects and unintended consequences. I am particularly referring to the micro—enterprises that actually make up the majority of the digital services. VAT regulations may become real obstacles for users and providers of services, especially for cross-border operations. The new provisions must not lead either to an increase in prices for the consumers or to extra costs which are an additional burden for businesses.

Therefore, Commissioner, it is imperative to report as soon as possible on the functioning of the new provisions in order to make eventual adjustments if needed. The introduction of the place-of-supply principle and the VAT mini one-stop shop should also lead to less regulatory burdens, better and more cost-effective digital services. Furthermore, Member States should enhance cooperation as regards the VAT rate applied to digital services, in order not to discriminate against consumers across the European Union who might find themselves in the position of paying significantly different prices for the same services.


  Doru-Claudian Frunzulică (S&D). Mr President, I believe that the alignment of VAT rates on e-books and e-papers is a very important step to carry out, as it would apply the same lowered VAT deductions to these digital services as to physical books and papers, thereby creating an equal, level playing field and eliminating distortion of competition.

The actual divergences between VAT rates on physical and digital products cannot be justified after the entry into force of new VAT rules on digital products sold in the EU, which are now chargeable in the place of purchase rather than in the place of supply. This regulation would also facilitate purchases for people who cannot afford to pay more for the same kind of books. In order to enable all Member States to benefit equally from the digital single market, the principle of taxation in the Member State where consumption takes place should apply in all cases.


  Ruža Tomašić (ECR). Gospodine predsjedniče, aktualno zakonodavstvo o PDV-u na digitalne usluge dokaz je nedostatka vizije i dugoročne strategije razvoja, a ujedno i klasičan primjer narušavanja pravila o tržišnom natjecanju jer tiskane knjige i njihove nakladnike stavlja u povoljniji položaj u odnosu na digitalna izdanja i tvrtke koje ih prodaju. Riječ je o reliktu nekih prošlih vremena kad je digitalno bilo stvar budućnosti.

Danas je valjda svima jasno da živimo u digitalnoj eri i da su digitalne usluge postale naša svakodnevnica pa njihovi pružatelji nikako ne bi smjeli biti u podređenom položaju na tržištu.

Ako želimo stvoriti jedinstveno digitalno tržište i modernizirati svoja gospodarstva, smatram da ovakve loše propise iz prošlosti moramo u što skorijem roku zamijeniti kvalitetnom i neopterećujućom regulativom sadašnjosti i budućnosti.


  Jérôme Lavrilleux (PPE). Monsieur le Président, Monsieur le Commissaire, chers collègues, imagine-t-on un seul instant taxer différemment une œuvre de Picasso selon qu'il s'agit d'une magnifique céramique, d'un superbe collage ou d'une toile remarquable? Il doit en être de même pour une autre forme de biens culturels qu'est le livre. Si le livre papier bénéficie d'un taux réduit de TVA, c'est parce que, lorsque cela a été décidé, le numérique n'existait pas. Croyez-moi, de même que la télévision n'a pas tué le cinéma, le livre numérique ne tuera pas le livre papier et donc les libraires.

Monsieur le Commissaire, vous l'avez entendu, nous sommes quasi unanimes à réclamer un taux réduit de TVA pour le livre numérique, alors décidons-le rapidement.


  Dariusz Rosati (PPE). Mr President, too often we hear that the VAT mini one-stop shop (MOSS) might be associated with the alleged negative influence of the new VAT regime in which taxes are paid according to the place of consumption rather than the registered office of the provider. But VAT MOSS is not the core of the problem that some companies claim to have. On the contrary, this is a solution which makes the life of companies easier: a company may register and settle its VAT in one country through one platform and while contacting only one administration instead of having to deal with 28 administrations.

It is, moreover, a solution that is optional for taxpayers; nobody is forced to use it. No better mechanism has been developed until now that makes the registration and settlement of VAT issues in trans-border transactions easier. Besides, VAT MOSS is only four months old and it is still being improved. The Commission has already started to assess the effectiveness of the VAT MOSS platform.

The new VAT rules may indeed be problematic for some companies. Let us emphasise however that the Directive on the Place of supply of services was approved by all Member States and this Parliament. Member States have had seven years to adapt to the new VAT rules.

I strongly urge the Commission to work on technical solutions to improve and facilitate the way SMEs can deal with the new VAT rules and the use of VAT MOSS. At the same time, I call on my colleagues in this House not to blame VAT MOSS, an instrument aimed strictly at making companies’ lives easier, for every difficulty they may face with the VAT regime.


  Romana Tomc (PPE). Razprava o problemu davkov na elektronske revije in knjige teče že dolgo. Mnenje o tem problemu so podale tudi številne strokovne in interesne skupine in med drugim je ena poudarila naslednje: da bi dosegli blagostanje na ekonomskem, socialnem in kulturnem področju vseh državljanov Evropske unije, je dostop do informacij ne glede na to, ali so v tiskani ali v elektronski obliki, odločilnega pomena, in na enak način zadovoljuje potrebe državljanov.

Razlog enakega načina zadovoljevanja potreb pa je tisti razlog, ki bi moral odločati o tem, da so tiskane in elektronske publikacije na davčnem področju obravnavane enako.

Knjige so naše veliko bogastvo. Kljub temu, da danes ob poplavi elektronskih medijev pozabljamo nanje, so pričevalke naše zgodovine. To je neprecenljivo.

Dostop do teh knjig v tradicionalni ali v elektronski obliki mora biti tudi v današnjem času omogočen vsem in ne vidim razloga, zakaj bi bile davčne stopnje za elektronske in tiskane knjige različne.

Ne gre za vsebino, gre za različno obliko. Razvoj gre naprej na vsej področjih in temu seveda se morajo prilagajati tudi davčni sistemi. Spoštovani gospod... (govornici izklopljen mikrofon)




  Michaela Šojdrová (PPE). Pane předsedající, já bych chtěla upozornit na to, že to, o čem zde diskutujeme, jsou vlastně dvě věci. Jedna je výše sazby daně z přidané hodnoty a druhá věc je způsob výběru těchto daní.

Myslím, že se všichni shodneme na tom, že jestliže se jedná o jednotný trh služeb v Evropské unii, pak budování tohoto digitálního trhu vyžaduje také zefektivnění v daňové oblasti. Podnikatelé nemají rádi, když se jim daňová pravidla mění příliš často, ale v tomto případě je zřejmě změna na místě. Je logické, aby daň z přidané hodnoty, což je zdanění spotřeby, se platila v tom státě, kde je služba konzumována.

Česká republika přistoupila zodpovědně k této směrnici a stanovila již jedno místo, je jím jeden z krajských finančních úřadů, kde se již registruje 317 subjektů. Myslím, že pan komisař by měl mít přehled o tom, jak postupuje registrace také v jiných zemích.

Pokud se týká výše sazby, jistě by Komise měla postupovat ve shodě s členskými státy a s tím, co tady slyší. Evropský parlament jasně požaduje sníženou sazbu na knihy a srovnatelné podmínky.


  Michał Boni (PPE). Panie Przewodniczący! Po pierwsze, potrzebujemy zmian VAT-u, tak żeby dostosować sprzedaż i rynek do zmian cyfrowych. Po drugie, potrzebujemy przeglądu tego rozwiązania Mini One Stop Shop, które weszło w życie na początku tego roku, żeby sprawdzić, jak realnie wpływa ono na funkcjonowanie małych przedsiębiorstw. Po trzecie, potrzebujemy uproszczenia – jednolita elektroniczna rejestracja i mechanizmy płacenia zapowiedziane w strategii jednolitego rynku cyfrowego są dobrym kierunkiem. I czwarte – potrzebujemy oczywiście jednolitej stawki na książki, zarówno te, które funkcjonują papierowo, jak i elektronicznie, ale nie zapominajmy również o gazetach. Europejskie gazety nie przetrwają procesu dostosowania do świata cyfrowego i konkurencyjności, jeśli nie będziemy traktowali ich podobnie jak książek, czyli z tą jednolitą stawką vatowską. I na koniec najważniejszy problem – trzeba rozróżnić usługę i produkt, albo widzieć je jednocześnie, tak...

(Przewodniczący odebrał mówcy głos.)


  Der Präsident. – Für das nun folgende Catch-the-eye-Verfahren haben wir mehr als doppelt so viele Nachfragen als wir Zeit zur Verfügung haben. Ich bitte Sie deshalb um Verständnis dafür, dass ich keine Redner und Rednerinnen berücksichtigen kann, die bereits in einer vorangegangenen Debatte im Catch-the-eye-Verfahren gesprochen haben.



  Bogdan Brunon Wenta (PPE). Panie Przewodniczący! Z zadowoleniem przyjąłem fakt, że w proponowanej strategii znalazł się postulat wprowadzenia tych samych obniżonych stawek VAT dla utworów online i offline. Z całą pewnością jest to mechanizm mogący ułatwić dostęp do utworów europejskich, ulepszyć ich obieg, a także stymulować rozwój nowych serwisów i platform. Te same obniżone stawki VAT mogą także pomóc w sprzedaży e-booków, co z kolei może umożliwić mniejszym przedsiębiorcom przetrwanie na rynku z wielkimi wydawnictwami. Wprowadzenie tych samych obniżonych stawek VAT jest jak najbardziej pozytywnym ruchem ze strony Komisji Europejskiej. Element ten był jednym z rekomendacji, jakie przedstawiłem w swoim sprawozdaniu na temat filmu europejskiego w dobie cyfrowej, ponieważ kwestia ta jest kluczowa dla ułatwienia produkcji, dystrybucji, dostępności i atrakcyjności filmów europejskich. Dziękuję bardzo.


  José Blanco López (S&D). Señor Presidente, resulta incomprensible que el libro digital y el libro físico paguen IVA diferente. Si la obra es la misma, los impuestos deben ser los mismos. Ya va siendo hora de que modifiquemos las normas para hacer que ambos libros paguen el mismo IVA y que el tipo de IVA sea reducido. La armonización es necesaria y es urgente, señor Comisario.

Europa tiene en su industria editorial un buque insignia, un sector líder mundial de referencia que debe ser protegido conforme a su carácter estratégico. Ya conocemos el nefasto impacto que medidas como la subida del IVA cultural han tenido en mi país. Ese respeto debe reflejarse en la estrategia para el mercado único digital, para que impulse una industria europea de contenidos robusta, capaz de generar empleo en momentos de crisis económica.


  Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz (ALDE). Señor Presidente, señor Comisario. Este debate no es un debate, es un clamor a la Comisión. La antigua reglamentación impositiva sobre el comercio electrónico beneficiaba a grandes empresas, a los gigantes, que constituían su sede social en países con un porcentaje de IVA muy reducido.

Esta nueva fiscalidad hay que verla en su conjunto y sin perjudicar a las más pequeñas empresas, pero —Comisario— urge el mercado único digital y no podemos esperar a 2016.

No podemos olvidarnos tampoco de la cultura. Es un clamor hoy aquí. Nos quedamos atrás. La fiscalidad cultural común es clave. Es necesario un IVA cultural superreducido para el conjunto de la Unión Europea porque un libro es un libro, Comisario. Se nos escapan las oportunidades entre los dedos. Escúchenos o nos convertiremos en su peor pesadilla.


  Εμμανουήλ Γλέζος ( GUE/NGL). Κύριε Πρόεδρε, αγαπητοί συνάδελφοι, όλα όσα άκουσα εδώ αποτελούν ημίμετρα. Γι’ αυτό ζητώ την κατάργηση του ΦΠΑ και θέλω να το αναλύσω και να το εξηγήσω. Θεωρητικά, κατ’ αρχήν, πρέπει να γνωρίζετε όλοι ότι ανήκει στους έμμεσους και όχι στους άμεσους φόρους. Οι άμεσοι φόροι είναι πάντοτε σε βάρος του λαού.

Αλλά ας δούμε στην πραγματικότητα τι είναι ο ΦΠΑ: φόρος προστιθέμενης αξίας. Προστιθέμενη σε τί; Όταν αγοράζεις ένα βιβλίο, προσθέτεις αξία επειδή είσαι ο νέος αναγνώστης; Για σκεφθείτε το αυτό! Όταν καταναλώνεις ένα προϊόν, σημαίνει ότι προσθέτεις αξία στο καινούργιο προϊόν;

Πρόκειται για μία φορολογία σε βάρος των καταναλωτών, σε βάρος των λαών, των πολιτών και όχι σε βάρος του κεφαλαίου. Γι’ αυτό προτείνω την κατάργησή του.


  Ernest Maragall (Verts/ALE). Señor Presidente, en este debate hay que partir de la evidencia de que la fiscalidad general en Europa sobre la cultura exhibe tratamientos tan diferenciados que contradicen explícitamente el concepto de equidad fiscal.

Me refiero, también, a lo que sucede en España, donde se produce un «castigo fiscal» explícito a la cultura en todas sus formas, con uno de los tipos de IVA más altos de Europa —un 21 %, excepto, precisamente, para los libros en formato clásico, a los que se les aplica el 4 %—. Comparto el criterio de igual trato fiscal, con tipo de IVA reducido, para los libros, sea cual sea su formato, en nombre del mercado único digital, pero aún más, en nombre de la cultura concebida como interés general.

Sería una paradoja difícil de entender, y aún menos de aceptar, que avanzáramos en la igualdad fiscal a la baja para toda clase de libros y siguiéramos callando frente a políticas fiscales con grave y directa discriminación negativa para la cultura en su conjunto, todo ello mientras los grandes operadores digitales disfrutan, de hecho, de una fiscalidad superreducida próxima a cero.

Este debate se ha convertido en un clamor a favor de la urgente armonización fiscal en Europa pensando, muy especialmente, en las pequeñas y medianas empresas.


(Ende des Catch-the-eye-Verfahrens)


  Andrus Ansip, Vice-President of the Commission. Mr President, I would like to thank you cordially for this fruitful debate. I would like to reflect on your question, Sophia, on why I am here and why Pierre Moscovici is not here. Pierre Moscovici is right now in the Bundestag in Berlin and this is the reason why I am here, but I think that both of those issues are directly related to the digital single market and this is the reason why I had to be here. Both those issues have a very long history but, as you said, there is a common understanding in the Commission that both of those issues are urgent issues. So let us talk about MOSS reform.

In 2004, our small and medium-sized companies were complaining because there was no fair competition. For big companies, for global players, it was so easy to remove their headquarters to countries where tax rates were at a very low level, and in this way our small and medium-sized companies were just out of the competition. That is why this reform was made. The decision was made in 2008 already. But, during those debates between 2004 and 2008, it was proposed by the Commission to set a threshold at quite a high level, under which our small and medium-sized companies did not have to declare their VAT revenue; and it was rejected by Member States.

This is one of those reasons why many people, many entrepreneurs, complained, and this is once again, according to my understanding, the reason why we had to propose to set this threshold for our micro-companies at quite a high level once again. I have stated it publicly many times already: according to my understanding, we proposed setting this threshold at the level of EUR 100 000, as it was during the years 2004 to 2008, and I think that our Member States were able to understand why this is so important for our small businesses.

Talking about e-books, the decision was made in 2001 already not to allow those reduced VAT rates to be applied on e-services like e-books. Why is this question an urgent issue right now? It is because of this decision we had from the European Court of Justice just last year and we had to act. As President Jean-Claude Juncker stated already, we would like to propose to allow those reduced rates also to be used on e-books. We will get a report about the VAT MOSS this summer already, and on the basis of this report we can say when we will be able to make our proposals that change our legislation. So the Commission is acting already and I promise that I will do my utmost to make those proposals as soon as possible.


  Der Präsident. – Die Aussprache ist geschlossen.

Schriftliche Erklärungen (Artikel 162 GO)


  Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE), in writing. Currently the EU’s ambitions to create a common Digital Single Market are being largely obstructed by administrative hurdles such as different VAT rules across the Union and, more specifically, an unequal treatment of similar non—digital and digital services and goods. I hold the view that this not only distorts fair competition, discourages SMEs and e-commerce but also makes digital goods much more difficult and expensive for EU consumers to access. Hence, I think that there is a great practical need to have a uniform VAT regime in the EU. Moreover, I believe that the derogations and reduced VAT rates should be applied for digital books, journals and magazines as they are now already applied for the printed books (their physical counterparts) due to being classified as cultural goods. This would not only benefit producers and consumers but could have a positive impact on the development of digital information base, research and innovation. Finally, it must be noted that the digital sphere develops extremely fast, and if we want to keep up our competitiveness on the world scale there is an urgent need for action and the Commission should step up its efforts to address this issue.


  Catherine Bearder (ALDE), in writing. Proposals contained in the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy to reduce the burden of new EU VAT rules for online firms are a very welcome development. The Commission has shown it is listening and wants to reduce the barriers the new rules have created for microbusinesses trying to sell their services across the EU However, as with any EU legislation we know it will take some time for these proposals to be debated and implemented. For the microbusinesses struggling to survive, there is no time to waste. Already there are clear issues with different levels of compliance and enforcement across EU Member States. The Commission and national governments must now look at what can be done immediately to help small businesses cope, including a temporary suspension of the rules while a solution is found.


  Barbara Kappel (NI), schriftlich. In Deutschland gilt für gedruckte Zeitungen ein ermäßigter Mehrwertsteuersatz von sieben Prozent, während digitale Ausgaben mit 19 Prozent besteuert werden. Diese Regelung beruht auf einer EU-Richtlinie aus dem Jahr 1991, als Online-Medien noch kaum genutzt wurden. Es ist aus diesem Grund der Kommissionsvorschlag zu begrüßen, eine Entbürokratisierung im Bereich der Mehrwertsteuer für digitale Dienstleistungen, Bücher und Zeitungen in der EU vorzunehmen. In diesem Zusammenhang soll ein reduzierter Mehrwertsteuersatz für digitale Medien forciert werden, d. h. der Mehrwertsteuersatz soll technologieneutral sein.

Seit Jänner 2015 gilt in den Mitgliedstaaten der EU in Bezug auf die Mehrwertsteuer das Bestimmungslandprinzip, welches ein großes Markthemmnis für digitale Bücher, Filme und Musik darstellt, insgesamt aber für alle Produkte, die online grenzüberschreitend verkauft werden. Gerade Klein- und Mittelbetriebe sind im Online-Handel mit hohen Markteintrittsbarrieren konfrontiert, weshalb auch nur sieben Prozent der KMU grenzüberschreitend verkaufen. Würden die Chancen eines digitalen Marktes optimal genutzt, könnten europäische Konsumenten pro Jahr 11,7 Milliarden Euro einsparen.


  Fernando Maura Barandiarán (ALDE), por escrito. El Tribunal de Justicia de la UE establece una diferencia entre los libros impresos, que son bienes, y los electrónicos, que considera un servicio. Por lo tanto, una sentencia del pasado 5 de marzo de dicho Tribunal ha recordado a Francia y Luxemburgo que no pueden imponer de forma unilateral un IVA reducido a los libros electrónicos, incumpliendo así la directiva correspondiente y su obligación como Estados miembros. Sin embargo, como lector, escritor y político, yo opino que un libro es un libro. Y lo es independientemente de su formato, del material de que se compone y de la forma en que se reproduce para llegar al lector mientras sirva para llevar a cabo su imprescindible labor cultural: la difusión del conocimiento humano. El Grupo ALDE ha solicitado que se introduzca este asunto en el orden del día de la sesión plenaria. El Parlamento sigue pidiendo desde hace años a la Comisión que rectifique este error, este equívoco absurdo que impide a los Estados miembros armonizar verdaderamente la legislación sobre el IVA de los libros digitales e impresos. Hay que proseguir este camino, no solo en consonancia con las exigencias del mercado único digital europeo, sino además porque la industria editorial en Europa está seriamente en peligro.

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