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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: The fight against tax fraud

28-06-2019

Tax policy, and the fight against tax fraud, have gained particular exposure over the past five years as a result of the light shed by repeated tax leaks and the related journalistic investigations. This has added to the increasing lack of acceptance of damaging tax practices, especially since the recession and the resulting budget constraints. The fight against tax fraud aims at recovering revenue not paid to the public authorities. It also aims at ensuring that fraudsters do not have an advantage ...

Tax policy, and the fight against tax fraud, have gained particular exposure over the past five years as a result of the light shed by repeated tax leaks and the related journalistic investigations. This has added to the increasing lack of acceptance of damaging tax practices, especially since the recession and the resulting budget constraints. The fight against tax fraud aims at recovering revenue not paid to the public authorities. It also aims at ensuring that fraudsters do not have an advantage over compliant taxpayers, thus ensuring tax fairness between taxpayers. Unpaid taxes result in reduced resources for national and European Union (EU) budgets. Though the scale of unpaid taxes is by nature difficult to estimate, available assessments hint at large amounts of resources lost to public finances. Citizens' evaluation of the EU's current involvement in the fight against tax fraud has improved, but the majority of citizens in each Member State still share expectations for even more intensive involvement. Despite this, there is still a considerable gap between citizens' evaluations and expectations of EU involvement. There is still room for improvement in addressing the preferences and expectations of EU citizens. The fight against tax fraud is shared between Member States and the EU. Coming under tax policy, it has remained closely linked to Member State sovereignty, protected by the requirement for unanimity and a special legislative procedure which keeps tax matters firmly under the Council's control. This has been the case since the Union's beginnings, in spite of the proposed limited changes to the tax framework. As shortcomings have been more clearly identified, the discussion has been opened anew in speeches on the State of the Union delivered by the President of the European Commission before the European Parliament. Fighting tax fraud covers not only actions against illegal behaviour, but also the deterrence of fraud and measures to foster compliance. As a result it involves a large reboot of tax provisions, to upgrade them for the scale and features of tax fraud as it is and as it evolves. In spite of the notable deliveries during the 2014-2019 parliamentary term, there remains work ahead, namely because all provisions need to be implemented, enforced, monitored and, if need be, updated, to keep up with the versatility of tax fraud and the pace of digital evolution globally. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Structural Budget Balances in EU Member States - June 2019

28-06-2019

Structural budget balances play an important role in the fiscal policy frameworks of the EU both as part of the application of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and in the implementation of the balanced budget rule by the contracting parties of the intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (the fiscal section of the Treaty is called “Fiscal Compact”). This document provides a short overview of the concept and application of the structural balance rule(s) in ...

Structural budget balances play an important role in the fiscal policy frameworks of the EU both as part of the application of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) and in the implementation of the balanced budget rule by the contracting parties of the intergovernmental Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU (the fiscal section of the Treaty is called “Fiscal Compact”). This document provides a short overview of the concept and application of the structural balance rule(s) in the EU. It will be regularly updated, in particular, the Annex that shows progress made (based on the latest Commission forecast) by Member States in reaching their structural budget commitments under the preventive arm of the SGP.

Public finances in Euro Area Member States: selected indicators - June 2019

28-06-2019

This document presents selected indicators on public finance for the Euro Area Member States and the Euro Area as a whole. For each indicator, it gives a short explanation and the employed sources. A final section provides a summary on how the sustainability of public finances is assessed by the European and other international institutions.

This document presents selected indicators on public finance for the Euro Area Member States and the Euro Area as a whole. For each indicator, it gives a short explanation and the employed sources. A final section provides a summary on how the sustainability of public finances is assessed by the European and other international institutions.

European Parliament's Banking Union reports in 2015 - 2018

26-06-2019

This briefing provides an overview of the European Parliament’s expectations and priorities for the banking union as set out in its annual Banking Union reports during the 8th legislative term. The main themes found in these reports over the last 4 years are highlighted in the first section of this briefing, while the second part turns to the ECB Banking Supervisor’s response to the 2017 Banking Union report, the most recent response available, as well as concrete actions expected from the SRB, who ...

This briefing provides an overview of the European Parliament’s expectations and priorities for the banking union as set out in its annual Banking Union reports during the 8th legislative term. The main themes found in these reports over the last 4 years are highlighted in the first section of this briefing, while the second part turns to the ECB Banking Supervisor’s response to the 2017 Banking Union report, the most recent response available, as well as concrete actions expected from the SRB, who as yet have not provided a formal response. The annex of the briefing includes a comparison of the positions taken by the EP in the annual reports in the following policy areas: banking developments and structures; institutional and organisational issues; regulatory issues; completing the banking unions; risk assessment; supervisory issues and priorities; crisis management; and policies related to Anti-Money-Laundering (AML)

Comparison of key figures in the 2019 Stability Programmes and European Commission spring 2019 forecast

24-06-2019

The purpose of this document is to show the differences between some key indicators of the 2019 Stability Programmes (SP) of the Euro Area Member States and the spring 2019 forecast of the European Commission (EC). In accordance with Art. 4 of Council Directive 2011/85/EU, the budgetary planning of the Member States “shall be based on the most likely macrofiscal scenario or on a more prudent scenario. (…). Significant dif¬fe¬ren¬ces between the chosen macrofiscal scenario and the (most recent) Commission ...

The purpose of this document is to show the differences between some key indicators of the 2019 Stability Programmes (SP) of the Euro Area Member States and the spring 2019 forecast of the European Commission (EC). In accordance with Art. 4 of Council Directive 2011/85/EU, the budgetary planning of the Member States “shall be based on the most likely macrofiscal scenario or on a more prudent scenario. (…). Significant dif¬fe¬ren¬ces between the chosen macrofiscal scenario and the (most recent) Commission’s forecast shall be described with reasoning (…).”

Euro Area Scrutiny: External expertise on economic governance issues during the 8th Parliamentary term

24-06-2019

This document provides the summaries of all external experts papers published during the 8th parliamentary term (2014-2019) by the Economic Governance Support Unit, aimed at supporting the scrutiny work on the functioning of the Euro Area, especially in view of the bi-annual Economic Dialogues with the President of the Eurogroup.

This document provides the summaries of all external experts papers published during the 8th parliamentary term (2014-2019) by the Economic Governance Support Unit, aimed at supporting the scrutiny work on the functioning of the Euro Area, especially in view of the bi-annual Economic Dialogues with the President of the Eurogroup.

Key issues in the European Council

20-06-2019

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues ...

The European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) monitors and analyses the activities, commitments and impact of the European Council, so as to maximize parliamentary understanding of the political dynamics of this important institution. This new EPRS publication, 'Key issues in the European Council', which will be updated quarterly to coincide with European Council meetings, aims to provide an overview of the institution’s activities on major EU issues. It analyses nine policy areas, explaining the legal and political background and the main priorities and orientations defined by the European Council. It also assesses the results of European Council involvement to date and identifies future challenges in the various policy fields.

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact (June 2019)

14-06-2019

This document gives an overview of key developments under the preventive and corrective arms of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) on the basis of (1) the latest Council decisions and recommendations in the framework of the SGP; (2) the latest European Commission (COM) economic forecast; and (3) the latest COM Opinions on the Draft Budgetary Plans (DBPs) of euro area Member States. The document is regularly updated.

This document gives an overview of key developments under the preventive and corrective arms of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) on the basis of (1) the latest Council decisions and recommendations in the framework of the SGP; (2) the latest European Commission (COM) economic forecast; and (3) the latest COM Opinions on the Draft Budgetary Plans (DBPs) of euro area Member States. The document is regularly updated.

European Council conclusions - A rolling check-list of commitments to date

14-06-2019

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of ...

The role of the European Council – to 'provide the Union with the necessary impetus for its development' and to define its 'general political directions and priorities' – has evolved rapidly over the last decade. Since June 2014, the European Council Oversight Unit within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS), the European Parliament's in-house research service and think tank, has been monitoring and analysing the European Council's delivery on commitments made in the conclusions of its meetings. This overview of European Council conclusions is a new, updated and more comprehensive edition of the Rolling Check-List, which has been published regularly by the European Council Oversight Unit since 2014. It distinguishes between four types of European Council conclusions (commitments, reviews, endorsements and statements) and indicates the follow-up given to calls for action made by EU leaders. It also offers an introductory analysis of each policy area, highlighting the background to the main orientations given by the European Council, as well as the follow-up to them and the future challenges.

Sovereign Debt Restructuring and Debt Mutualisation in the Euro Area: An Assessment

04-06-2019

Existing proposals for reform in the euro area, including the introduction of an orderly sovereign debt restructuring mechanism and of forms of debt mutualisation, rely on similar implicit or explicit assumptions: The “diabolic loop” between sovereign debt and domestic banks is to be mitigated or avoided; market discipline has to be maintained; and moral hazard has to be avoided. This paper discusses the stated goals of existing proposals, together with their likely anticipated and unanticipated ...

Existing proposals for reform in the euro area, including the introduction of an orderly sovereign debt restructuring mechanism and of forms of debt mutualisation, rely on similar implicit or explicit assumptions: The “diabolic loop” between sovereign debt and domestic banks is to be mitigated or avoided; market discipline has to be maintained; and moral hazard has to be avoided. This paper discusses the stated goals of existing proposals, together with their likely anticipated and unanticipated effects and trade-offs. It recognizes that several of these underlying assumptions and frameworks are at odds with the extant empirical evidence. It concludes by setting forth a three-pronged proposal for reform in the Euro Area. First, it is desirable to have a more explicit seniority structure in sovereign debt, which should be achieved by introducing a junior class of risky sovereign bonds linked to nominal GDP growth. Second, governments with high legacy debt and/or high deficits should be required to access new financing by issuing such junior bonds. Third, the extent of fiscal stabilization and banking union in the Euro area should be increased.

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S. Rossi

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