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Parliamentary questions
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8 March 2021
Answer given by Mr Gentiloni
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-006955/2020

1. The Commission shares the view that there is need to improve tax good governance also within the EU. For this purpose, it published a communication on 15 July 2020 on tax good governance in the EU and beyond(1), with .ideas to ensure a level playing field in the Single Market and globally The European Parliament has welcomed the communication, including in its recent Resolution of 21 January 2021 on reforming the EU list of tax havens.

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions is tailored to apply to third countries. Yet different tools ensure that Member States comply with tax good governance principles (e.g. extensive and different types of exchanges of information under the directive on administrative cooperation(2), anti-tax avoidance rules(3) and the Code of Conduct on business taxation(4)). Additionally, the Commission adopted recommendations on aggressive tax planning for six Member States in 2020(5). Their implementation will continue to be monitored in the context of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

2. Infringement proceedings ensure that Member States comply with EC law and, in the event of not following the outcome of a judgment by the Court of Justice of the EU, the Treaties provide for the possibility of applying penalties.

The communication of 15 July 2020 suggests that ‘The [Code of Conduct] Group could … consider effective consequences for Member States that do not comply with the Group’s decisions on time.’

3. EU legislation and initiatives, notably the anti-tax avoidance directive, aim to discourage artificial transfers of profits from one Member State to another or a third country. In this way, the Commission aims to prevent situations that create harmful tax competition within the EU.

(1)COM(2020) 313 final of 15/07/2020
(2)Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on administrative cooperation in the field of taxation and repealing Directive 77/799/EEC, as subsequently amended
(3)Council Directive (EU) 2016/1164 of 12 July 2016 laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market
Council Directive (EU) 2017/952 of 29 May 2017 amending Directive (EU) 2016/1164 as regards hybrid mismatches with third countries
(4)Conclusions of the Ecofin Council Meeting on 1 December 1997 concerning taxation policy — Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 1 December 1997 on a code of conduct for business taxation — Taxation of saving
(5)Recommendations issued in the context of the European Semester can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/2020-european-semester-country-specific-recommendations-commission-recommendations_en
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