Speaking during an ECOFIN meeting of EU Finance Ministers in Brussels, today Wednesday 25 May 2016, the Minister for Finance, Prof. Edward Scicluna, stressed that measures targeting tax avoidance should serve to tackle abuse and not hit legitimate investment in the European Union. The main item for discussion during the ECOFIN meeting dealt with a proposal from the Commission laying down rules against tax avoidance practices that directly affect the functioning of the internal market.
PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR FINANCE
Ministers agreed to continue discussions on a proposal which has been debated intensively during the Dutch Presidency. The proposal seeks to ensure a minimum set of rules Member States would need to transpose under domestic tax legislation to fight tax avoidance. Malta, together with a number of other Member States also stressed the need to respect primary EU law as interpreted by settled European Court of Justice Case law in the application of anti-abuse legislation when this is applicable intra-EU.
“More technical work and discussions will now continue to take place until we reach an agreement. On our side, we have to continue seeking and obtaining the reassurances we need on our tax system,” Minister Scicluna stated following the Council meeting.
EU Finance Ministers also agreed on Council Conclusions in connection with the VAT Action plan launched by the Commission in April for a simpler, fraud-proof and more business friendly VAT system. In addition, Ministers adopted Council Conclusions related to the 2016 European Semester cycle.
On 24 May, Minister Scicluna also attended a meeting of the Eurogroup which as its principle item discussed the macroeconomic adjustment program for Greece. In this regard, Ministers agreed to unlock EUR 10.3 billion in loans under the next tranche of it bailout programme. The possible debt re-profiling will be delivered at the end of the programme in mid-2018 and the scope will be determined by the Eurogroup.
For the meeting, Minister Scicluna was accompanied by Ambassador Marlene Bonnici, Permanent Representative of Malta to the EU and the Permanent Secretary for Finance, Mr. Alfred Camilleri.
Wednesday 25th May 2016