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Opening Remarks by Commissioner Moscovici at the ECOFIN press conference

Merci Pier Carlo.

J’ai été très content d’être de participer à cette réunion du Conseil ECOFIN, pour la première fois en tant que commissaire européen aux affaires économiques et financières, à la fiscalité et aux douanes.

L’enjeu est connu. Il est essentiel, pour que nous puissions avancer de manière efficace et ambitieuse pour faire face aux défis qui sont devant nous – relancer la croissance et l’emploi à travers plus de compétitivité, plus d’investissement, des reformes plus ambitieuses et des politiques budgétaires crédibles – il est indispensable que la Commission et le Conseil, ainsi que le Parlement européen, travaillent ensemble de façon étroite, mais aussi ouverte et constructive.

Concerning the issues that we have discussed today, I first want to welcome the important progress that has been made, also thanks to the Italian Presidency, towards an agreement on our proposed revision of the Parent Subsidiary Directive. I would of course have liked us to reach an agreement already today, but I understand and I feel that we are now well-placed to reach a definitive agreement at the ECOFIN meeting in December. Especially in the current context, that we all know, there is no time to waste in reducing any opportunities for abusive practices and aggressive tax planning. Also I observed a new spirit, in order to fight these practices of tax fraud, tax evasion, tax base erosion and to go on fighting bank secrecy and to move towards an automatic exchange of information as a global standard as by 2016. The European Union and the Commission want Europe to be in the lead, to become an example for these matters.

In this context I want to highlight the important work of the G20 on base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS), which will be taken forward at the Summit in Brisbane next week, to which I will accompany President Juncker. We need to work hard to finalise this work in 2015.

On our proposal for a Standard VAT return, the objective of which is to make life easier for businesses operating in the Single Market, I am disappointed at the continued lack of progress.

We face global economic challenges, we should not miss any opportunity to foster growth. And this is just such an opportunity: to ease the burden on companies, to make it easier to access new markets, as well as to improve tax compliance and increase public revenues. So I call on our Member States not to let this opportunity pass them by, because the ball is firmly in their court. And I also really appreciate the efforts of the Italian Presidency in order to progress on this simplification matter which is essential for businesses.

On the Financial Transactions Tax, The Commission is of course no longer in the lead on this file since this is enhanced cooperation. Our role is active, we provide both technical and political support to the Member States to take this forward, and to support an FTT that is realistic but as ambitious as possible. 

I believe that good progress is now being made towards an agreement by the end of the year, which would allow the FTT to enter into force by the beginning of 2016.

Again the European Commission is available to play its role and to be part of the deal as a deal maker.

Avant de conclure, permettez-moi de dire aussi quelques mots sur la question du financement lié au climat.

Le soutien public européen aux pays tiers dans ce domaine a atteint 9,6 milliards d’euros en 2013, ce qui est un record historique. L’UE est le principal contributeur au Fonds vert pour le climat, les engagements pris par les États membres de l’UE représentant environ 80% des annonces déjà faites. Nous restons engagés à intensifier la mobilisation du financement climatique pour lequel une tendance clairement à la hausse existe, dans un contexte qui n’est pas le plus facile.

En outre, le Conseil a présenté aujourd’hui la position de l’UE sur le financement de l’Accord sur le Climat, que nous souhaitons ait lieu à Paris l’année prochaine.

Donc, en résumé, l’UE envoie aujourd’hui un message très positif qui marque notre engagement de rester à la tête de la lutte mondiale contre le changement climatique.


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