Wednesday, June 29, 2005

What to expect from the UK Presidency of the EU

Following the rejection by France and the Netherlands of the EU Constitution, the recent EU summit failure to reach an agreement on the European Union's future budget, failure has become the "flavour of the month" in the EU corridors and plunged the EU into a middle age or juvenile crisis (depending how you see the leaders are acting!). While doubts are being expressed about the wisdom of enlargement, one should ask where does the issue of taxation in the EU fall?

In the context of those wider issues, the panorama of European taxation and the latest effect of the ECJ decisions on national revenues seems a bit trivial. Nevertheless, I would say that such an issue also mirrors those wider matters pending in the heads of the EU leaders. For example, where does the EU concern on establishing an internal market ends and the national interest of sustaining high tax revenues begin?

We know already that the United Kingdom, which takes over the presidency for the following six months, will not be paying to much attention to issues of taxation. Its main priorities lie elsewhere. Nevertheless, we also know that the UK Presidency plans to form a "high-level" group during its presidency to study the impact of ECJ tax cases on national policies and revenue. A recent commentator said that such study could only end up recommending two of the following possibilities: (a) change EU law or (b) change the ECJ! I would add that from a UK point of view, perhaps option (b) is the only admissible option!

If you want to follow such developments, please update your favourites and include the new link to the official website for the UK Presidency of the EU 2005, which runs from 1 July to 31 December 2005.


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