Tuesday, May 17, 2005

MFN Clause under EC Law - CFE Forum 2005

The CFE (CONFEDERATION FISCALE EUROPEENNE) holds Forums on current international tax issues every year in the spring. The 2005 Forum took place on the 28 April in Brussels and the topics were: (1) A Tax Treaty for Europe? (2) VAT treatment of immoveable property.

I should highlight the first topic, since it deals with an issue of interest to many of you: the most favoured nation clause under EC Law and the eventual outcome of the “D” and “Bujara” cases that are currently being scrutinized by the European Court of Justice. The following presentations address both, how the MFN clause issue reached the European Court of Justice and what could be the effect of the acknowledgment of a MFN clause in the scope of double tax treaties of the EU Member States. It is worth mentioning the presentations of the following speakers in the Forum:
Dennis Weber (Loyens), Differences Between Tax Treaties: Prohibited Discrimination?
Richard Lyal (Comission), The Position Taken By The European Commission In Case C-376/03 D V Belastingdienst;
Otmar Thömmes (Deloitte), A Tax Treaty For Europe An Independent View Under EU Law; and
Mike Waters (OECD), A Tax Treaty For Europe? MFN and The Outcome Of The D And Bujara Cases In The European Court Of Justice

I should open a betting place with regards to the results of the ECJ proceedings in tax matters. Actually, with the recent Marks & Spencers I would probably would have won some Euros! With regards to the D & Bujara cases and discounting the normal optimism of some advisors and scholars, I would say 75% against 25% not in favor of the MFN clause. But...you never know when the mailman nocks again at the door of the ECJ!


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