Exemption from VAT for menstrual hygiene products
Question for written answer E-003636/2021
to the Commission
Chiara Gemma (NI)
Women in Europe spend around EUR 675 every year on menstrual hygiene products. Based on an average menstrual lifetime of at least 40 years, this comes to a total outlay of around EUR 27 000, before taking into account related costs for pharmacological or pain-alleviating products.
In Italy the VAT rate for some goods that are considered ‘essential’, such as, for example, fruit and vegetables, razor blades and perishable foodstuffs, is pegged at 4 %. The VAT rate for sanitary protection items, however, is 22 %, putting them, de facto, on a par with many luxury items.
Almost all Member States have legislation permitting a lower VAT rate for certain specific product categories. Given this, what specific initiatives will the Commission pursue to incite Member States to do away with, or peg, the tax burden on menstrual hygiene products, bringing them into line with other essential product categories?