EU-flash: Virtual Currencies, Tax Avoidance Package and REFIT platform


The newly created REFIT platform has held its first meeting and in the future, it will take care of examining the suggestions coming from citizens, civil servants and entrepreneurs for the sake of a more adequate European regulation. On January 25, 2016, the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Parliament held a public hearing about virtual coins. A couple of days later, the European Commission presented the Anti-Tax Avoidance package for a coordinated fight against fraud based on tax regulation. 

Virtual Currencies

On 25 January 2016, the Economic and Financial Committee of the European Parliament held a hearing to discuss the risks and benefits of virtual currencies with experts in the subject.

As virtual currencies are rapidly gaining in importance, the Parliament is keen to investigate if there are any issues attached to their use. Parliament is currently working on a report on virtual currencies, which the economic committee is expected to vote on in April.  

The members of the ECON committee discussed the advantages and drawbacks of virtual currencies with the experts, who told them EU regulation should not go beyond preventing and fighting crime. The question of whether there is a need for EU regulation on virtual currencies was discussed during the hearing. Most of the experts present were cautious about expanding EU legislation on virtual currencies.

The Committee will vote on the report in April and it will be put to a vote before the European Parliament during a plenary session, most likely in May, following which the adopted report will be sent to the European Commission for consideration. 

More information can be found here.

Tax Avoidance Package

On 28 January 2016, the European Commission presented its 'Anti-Tax Avoidance Package'. The proposals are aimed at creating a coordinated European Union approach against tax avoidance, enforcing a collective position across Member States on the issue and would result in the aligning of the relevant tax laws in all 28 Member States.

Among the concrete legislative measures proposed is a draft Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive and a revision of the Administrative Cooperation Directive to provide for country-by-country reporting between Member States' tax authorities on key tax-related information for multinationals operating in the European Union.

The proposals will now be debated in the Council and the European Parliament. Full details can be found here and here.

REFIT platform

On the 29th of January, the Commission hosted the first meeting of the REFIT Platform. Forty-eight members from a diversity of stakeholders, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions and all Member State governments will come together under this format to make EU legislation and its implementation in Member States more efficient and more effective in achieving its objectives.

By bringing together a diverse group of experts on the concrete impact of EU legislation on the ground, this initiative aims to provide a basis for inclusive work on the common goal of better regulation for better results.

The work of the REFIT Platform will be driven by its members, mainly on the basis of input received from the public via the 'Lighten the Load' tool. This new online portal is open for all members of the public to provide their suggestions for reducing the unnecessary regulatory burdens they experience in their daily lives. Platform members will assess the merits of the stakeholder contributions and look at practical ways to follow up on their suggestions without undermining policy objectives.

The Commission will react to all the Platform's suggestions and systematically and publicly explain how it intends to follow up. Around 250 suggestions were already submitted.

For more information, click here.


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