EU-flash: Results of the February 12th ECOFIN meeting and the Online Dispute Resolution platform

16/02/2016

At the ECOFIN meeting on February 12, 2016, the European Ministers of Finance reached an agreement on a concrete time schedule for the implementation of the measures in the fight against the financing of terrorism and tax evasion and took a closer look at the 2017 EU budget. A couple of days later, the European Commission made the ‘Online Dispute Resolution Platform’ operational.

Results of the February 12th ECOFIN meeting

Action plan to prevent the financing of terrorism

During the ECOFIN meeting of 12 February 2016, the Ministers of Finance confirmed their commitment to proceed with a swift implementation of a number of measures set out in the action plan to prevent the financing of terrorism.

In its conclusions, the Council calls for rapid progress in particular in, but not limited to:

  • the field of virtual currencies;
  • strengthening access to information by financial intelligence units (FIUs), such as bank and payment account information;
  • appropriate measures on prepaid payment instruments
  • measures against illicit cash movements.

The conclusions specify in detail a number of other initiatives to be taken, both legislative and non-legislative, setting deadlines for action. They commit the Council and the member states to a number of urgent steps, taking stock regularly at future meetings.

The Council will return to the issue at its meeting on 17 June 2016.

Tax Avoidance

The Council held a first discussion on a package of proposals aimed at strengthening EU rules to prevent corporate tax avoidance. The package is intended as a coordinated response to tax practices deployed by some large companies. It also sets out to implement standards approved by the OECD.

The presidency has set an ambitious timetable for work on the package. It foresees political agreement before June 2016 on:

  • a proposal to boost the exchange of tax-related information on the activities of multinational companies;
  • proposed rules to tackle some of the most prevalent tax avoidance practices.

Work will be taken in phases, the ambition being to reach an agreement on the first directive in March and to move as rapidly as possible on the other elements.

EU budget issues

The Council set its priorities for the 2017 EU budget, calling for a realistic budget that strikes the right balance between fiscal consolidation and investments to boost growth. Ministers also asked that the EU budget for 2017 remain flexible enough to cope with current and possible future challenges.

Here you can find more information on the results of the ECOFIN meeting.

The Online Dispute Resolution platform

On 15 February 2016, the European Commission launched the Online Dispute Resolution platform to help consumers and traders solve disputes for both domestic and cross-border online purchases. This is done by channeling the disputes to national Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) bodies that are connected to the platform and have been selected by the Member States according to quality criteria

Key features of the platform:

  • The platform is user-friendly and accessible on all types of devices. Consumers can fill out the complaint form on the platform in three simple steps.
  • The platform offers users the possibility to conduct the entire resolution procedure online.
  • The platform is multilingual. A translation service is available on the platform to assist involving parties based in different European countries.

Today, around 117 Alternative Dispute Resolution bodies from 17 Member States are connected to the Online Dispute Resolution platform and the Commission is working to achieve a full coverage of all Member States and sectors as soon as possible.

Click here to learn more about the Online Dispute Resolution platform.

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