18

result(s)

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Publication type
Policy area
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Date

VAT Fraud: Economic Impact, Challenges and Policy Issues

15-10-2018

Each year, the EU Member States lose billions of euros in VAT revenues on account of fraud. As the EU VAT system is undergoing profound modernisation, this study seeks (i) to take stock of the current state of play, (ii) to assess the current regulatory framework and the proposals under discussion, and (iii) to offer a selection of recommendations. An initial conclusion is that, while the European Commission has put a considerable amount of work into the modernisation of the EU VAT system, remaining ...

Each year, the EU Member States lose billions of euros in VAT revenues on account of fraud. As the EU VAT system is undergoing profound modernisation, this study seeks (i) to take stock of the current state of play, (ii) to assess the current regulatory framework and the proposals under discussion, and (iii) to offer a selection of recommendations. An initial conclusion is that, while the European Commission has put a considerable amount of work into the modernisation of the EU VAT system, remaining risks of fraud cannot be ignored. A second substantial conclusion is that a different approach and the use of new technologies would allow the Member States to remove significant obstacles that currently impede an effective fight against VAT fraud. This study was provided by Policy Department A at the request of the TAX3 Committee.

External author

Marie LAMENSCH, Emanuele CECI

The institutional architecture of EU anti-fraud measures: Overview of a network

18-06-2018

In the European Union, several institutions, agencies and other bodies (collectively referred to as 'EU authorities') are concerned with preventing and combating fraud related to the EU budget. These EU authorities, and the activities they carry out – including policy-making, monitoring and operational tasks – make up a multi-layered network in which Member States and international organisations are also included. At the domestic level, national authorities contribute by detecting, prosecuting and ...

In the European Union, several institutions, agencies and other bodies (collectively referred to as 'EU authorities') are concerned with preventing and combating fraud related to the EU budget. These EU authorities, and the activities they carry out – including policy-making, monitoring and operational tasks – make up a multi-layered network in which Member States and international organisations are also included. At the domestic level, national authorities contribute by detecting, prosecuting and reporting fraudulent behaviour in the use of European Union funds to the European Commission. At the same time, a number of international organisations coordinate efforts across countries and legal systems to combat fraud. The present analysis offers an overview of this network, with a focus on the European Union institutional framework.

Procedural rights and detention conditions

07-12-2017

Despite the significant EU action and cooperation that has taken place, the rights and detention conditions of those suspected of committing a crime and serving a sentence in the Member States continue to fail to live up to international and EU standards. Judicial cooperation within the EU is not yet fully adapted to this reality, it operates in absence of an EU mechanism monitoring Member States' compliance with practical fundamental rights and lacks specific guidance for alleged violations. EU ...

Despite the significant EU action and cooperation that has taken place, the rights and detention conditions of those suspected of committing a crime and serving a sentence in the Member States continue to fail to live up to international and EU standards. Judicial cooperation within the EU is not yet fully adapted to this reality, it operates in absence of an EU mechanism monitoring Member States' compliance with practical fundamental rights and lacks specific guidance for alleged violations. EU legislation on suspects' rights is limited to setting common minimum standards. Even so, there are already indications of shortcomings concerning key rights to a fair trial, such as the right to interpretation, translation, information and legal assistance during questioning by the police. Furthermore, certain areas have not been comprehensively addressed, such as pre-trial detention, contributing to prison overcrowding in a number of EU Member States. The outstanding divergent levels of protection also create discrimination between EU citizens. Criminal justice systems remain inefficient and fail to achieve the aims of convicting and rehabilitating the guilty, while protecting the innocent. This impacts on the individuals concerned, in terms of a denial of their rights and material and immaterial damage; on their families; and on Member States' societies more generally. The gaps and barriers identified also have substantial cost implications. Finally, this study assesses the added value of a number of options for EU action and cooperation to contribute to closing these gaps and taking further steps to ensure the effective protection of the rights of suspects and detained persons.

The European Council and the 2017 State of the Union proposals

27-10-2017

In his 2017 State of the Union address to the European Parliament, the European Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, took stock of EU developments over the past year and outlined his vision for the future of the EU, which would lead to a 'more united, stronger and more democratic Europe'. His vision consists of five proposals which would require a decision by the European Council, as well as one suggestion which would directly impact on the composition and working methods of this EU institution ...

In his 2017 State of the Union address to the European Parliament, the European Commission's President, Jean-Claude Juncker, took stock of EU developments over the past year and outlined his vision for the future of the EU, which would lead to a 'more united, stronger and more democratic Europe'. His vision consists of five proposals which would require a decision by the European Council, as well as one suggestion which would directly impact on the composition and working methods of this EU institution. The five proposals are: 1) using the general passerelle clause to shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting (QMV) in the Council on remaining internal market issues and aspects of taxation policy; 2) moving to QMV in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); 3) setting up a European Defence Union; 4) extending the competences of the European Public Prosecutor's Office; 5) agreeing on a new composition for the European Parliament, including transnational lists. The additional suggestion is to merge the positions of President of the European Council and European Commission. In principle, all proposed initiatives could be carried out without a Treaty change. The Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) include a series of clauses enabling the European Council to go beyond the current status quo. In three cases, the European Council would need the consent of the European Parliament before taking its decision. A comparison between President Juncker's proposals and the views of the European Parliament indicates that their opinions overlap regarding four of the ideas, while on one of them, discussions in the Parliament are still ongoing (see Table 1 below).

Area of freedom, security and justice:Untapped potential

27-10-2017

Since the entry into force of the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam, the EU offers its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ). In this area, the free movement of persons should be ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum and migration, as well as the prevention and combating of crime. Since then, the Union has adopted its own Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Parliament has been fully engaged in shaping the AFSJ as a ...

Since the entry into force of the 1997 Treaty of Amsterdam, the EU offers its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice (AFSJ). In this area, the free movement of persons should be ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum and migration, as well as the prevention and combating of crime. Since then, the Union has adopted its own Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Parliament has been fully engaged in shaping the AFSJ as a co-legislator. Two decades later, however, the Union and its Member States still face major challenges in delivering this objective. Problems have been identified in upholding democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, ensuring a high level of security (notably in the fight against corruption, organised crime and terrorism), protecting external borders, guaranteeing the right to asylum and developing a common migration policy. Surveys show that citizens expect the EU and its Member States to deliver in these areas, notably in the area of migration and the fight against terrorism and fraud. In October 2016, the Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committee requested the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) to produce a 'Cost of Non-Europe Report' on the AFSJ. This paper contains an overview of the existing gaps and barriers in the main policy areas covered by the AFSJ, and assesses their economic impacts as well as impacts at individual level on fundamental rights and freedoms. It also assesses options for action at EU level that could address those gaps and barriers, together with an estimation of their potential cost and benefits.

Plenary round-up - Strasbourg, October I 2017

06-10-2017

The adoption of Parliament's resolution on the state of play of the Brexit negotiations was one of the main points of the October I plenary session, as was a debate on the constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain. Other subjects debated during the week included the cancellation of flights by Ryanair, the forthcoming COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, the situation in Moldova and breaches of human rights in Africa, Ukraine and the Maldives. As for legislative procedures, Members ...

The adoption of Parliament's resolution on the state of play of the Brexit negotiations was one of the main points of the October I plenary session, as was a debate on the constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain. Other subjects debated during the week included the cancellation of flights by Ryanair, the forthcoming COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, the situation in Moldova and breaches of human rights in Africa, Ukraine and the Maldives. As for legislative procedures, Members voted, inter alia, on proposals for three directives related to the safety of passenger ships and on the incorporation of recommendations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) into EU law. Parliament also gave its consent to establishing the European Public Prosecutor's Office, following a procedure introduced under enhanced cooperation between 20 Member States. The Office is intended to cooperate closely with Eurojust in order to investigate and prosecute crimes against financial interests of the Union. This 'at a glance' note is intended to review some of the highlights of the plenary part-session, and notably to follow up on key dossiers identified by EPRS. It does not aim to be exhaustive. For more detailed information on specific files, please see other EPRS products, notably our 'legislation in progress' briefings, as well as the plenary minutes.

Establishing the European Public Prosecutor

28-09-2017

The European Parliament is expected to vote during the October I plenary session on giving its consent to the proposed regulation on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), agreed by 20 Member States under enhanced cooperation in June 2017.

The European Parliament is expected to vote during the October I plenary session on giving its consent to the proposed regulation on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), agreed by 20 Member States under enhanced cooperation in June 2017.

Combating terrorism

12-09-2017

The phenomenon of foreign fighters travelling to conflict zones, mostly in Syria and Iraq, represents a growing threat for the EU and its Member States. Most of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe were perpetrated by 'home-grown' terrorists, and at least some of the perpetrators proved to be returned foreign fighters. In December 2015, the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive on combating terrorism, aimed at updating the current framework on criminalising terrorist offences ...

The phenomenon of foreign fighters travelling to conflict zones, mostly in Syria and Iraq, represents a growing threat for the EU and its Member States. Most of the recent terrorist attacks in Europe were perpetrated by 'home-grown' terrorists, and at least some of the perpetrators proved to be returned foreign fighters. In December 2015, the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive on combating terrorism, aimed at updating the current framework on criminalising terrorist offences and at bringing EU legislation into line with international developments, such as the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 and the Additional Protocol to the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism. The proposal extends the list of offences, to cover receiving of terrorist training, travelling and attempting to travel abroad for terrorism, and funding or facilitating such travel, and also includes provisions on the protection of victims. After completion of the legislative procedure at first reading in the Parliament and Council, the final act was signed in March 2017. Member States are required to transpose the new directive into national law by 8 September 2018.

Outcome of European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 and of informal meeting of the EU27 of 10 March 2017

14-03-2017

After re-electing Donald Tusk as its President, the European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 discussed the economic situation in Europe, progress on measures regarding migration, internal and external security, and external relations. In his first speech to the European Council, the recently- elected President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, outlined his approach to appearing before European Council meetings, he will present the positions of the European Parliament, including minority ...

After re-electing Donald Tusk as its President, the European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 discussed the economic situation in Europe, progress on measures regarding migration, internal and external security, and external relations. In his first speech to the European Council, the recently- elected President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, outlined his approach to appearing before European Council meetings, he will present the positions of the European Parliament, including minority views. He stressed his commitment to ‘fair and constructive cooperation’ between the two institutions, stating that ‘Parliament will be part of the solution, not part of the problem’. In the end, the meeting produced ‘Conclusions by the President of the European Council supported by 27 Member States, ’ due to a lack of consensus ‘for reasons unrelated to its [i.e. the documents] substance’. At the informal meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government without the UK (EU27), held the following day, leaders discussed the procedural and content-related aspects of the forthcoming celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties and the expected ‘Rome Declaration’.

Outlook for the 9 March 2017 European Council, and the Informal meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government on 10 March 2017

10-03-2017

At their 9-10 March 2017 meeting, EU leaders will focus on the economic situation in Europe, including the economic and social priorities of the 2017 European Semester, trade policy and delivery of the different single market strategies. The European Council will also discuss migration, security and defence, and external relations and will (re-)elect its President. Following the European Council, the 27 Heads of State or Government – without the United Kingdom – will meet informally on 10 March 2017 ...

At their 9-10 March 2017 meeting, EU leaders will focus on the economic situation in Europe, including the economic and social priorities of the 2017 European Semester, trade policy and delivery of the different single market strategies. The European Council will also discuss migration, security and defence, and external relations and will (re-)elect its President. Following the European Council, the 27 Heads of State or Government – without the United Kingdom – will meet informally on 10 March 2017 to continue their discussions on the future of Europe and prepare the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties. The recently elected President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, will address the European Council for the first time.

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