The idea that is being floated by the European Commission on ending unanimity on tax matters in the Council of the European Union “is not just a matter of sovereignty but more importantly about the possible use of force when the power of conviction is lacking”. This is how Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna described the communication issued by the European Commission titled ‘Towards a more efficient and democratic decision-making in EU tax policy’ which was discussed today during the ECOFIN council held in Brussels.
PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE
Minister Scicluna emphasised that “the existing unanimity voting ensures that all member states are fully onboard on legislation which lies at the core of state matters. Voting on tax matters has never been a barrier to effectiveness. If it were the case, we would not have closed so many tax files during the last five years, including amendments to the parent-subsidiarity directive, the administrative cooperation directive and the two Anti-Tax Avoidance directives”.
Minister Scicluna referred to the ill-thought out proposals such as the Financial Transaction Tax and the Digital Tax quick-fix.
The ECOFIN council today approved the proposal for a review of the European system of financial supervision. Malta supported the proposal which aims to sustainably reinforce the stability and effectiveness of the financial system throughout the Union and to enhance consumer and investor protection. The proposals will improve the mandates, governance and funding of the ESAs for banking (European Banking Authority, EBA), for securities and financial markets (European Securities and Markets Authority, ESMA), and for insurance and pensions (European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, EIOPA).
Meanwhile, Minister Scicluna participated also in the Eurogroup meeting which was held on Monday. The meeting discussed and endorsed the nomination of Philip Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, to the executive board of the European Central Bank and discussed the post-programme surveillance of Ireland and Portugal.
Minister Scicluna was accompanied by Malta’s Permanent Representative to the EU, Daniel Azzopardi, and the Finance Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alfred Camilleri.
Tuesday 12th February 2019