Ministers agreed on a proposal for a Council directive on rates of value added tax (VAT). The updates to the legislation aim to ensure member states are treated equally and give them more flexibility to apply reduced and zero VAT rates. The rules also aim to phase out preferential treatments for environmentally harmful goods.
Today, we agreed on the proposal for a Council directive on rates of value added tax- This file has been discussed in the Council for a long while, and I’m glad that we have found a way to bring it to conclusion.
Andrej Šircelj, Slovenian Minister for Finance
The new rules aim to reflect member states’ current needs and the EU’s present policy objectives, which have changed considerably since the old rules were put in place.
Anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism
The Council took note of the Presidency progress report on the anti-money-laundering and countering the financing of terrorism legislative package.
EU ambassadors agreed on 1 December 2021 on a mandate to negotiate with the European Parliament on one of the proposals of the package, on an update to existing rules on information accompanying transfers of funds. The update aims to extend the scope of the rules to certain crypto-assets.
The other proposals of the package are still under consideration within the Council.
Digital finance package
The Presidency informed ministers on the state of play of the digital finance package. The Council adopted its position on a proposal for a Regulation on Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) and a proposal for a Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) on 24 November 2021. This agreement forms the Council’s negotiating mandate for trilogue negotiations with the European Parliament.
The Presidency and the European Parliament’s negotiators reached a provisional agreement on a pilot regime for market infrastructures based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) at political level on 24 November 2021. Details of the agreement will be sorted out at technical level after which member states’ EU ambassadors will endorse the agreement, before the formal adoption procedure by the Council and the European Parliament is launched.
Strengthening the Banking Union
Ministers took stock of the progress in strengthening of the Banking Union on the basis of a presidency report covering the discussions held in the Council’s ad hoc working party on the strengthening of the Banking Union during the second semester of 2021.
Capital markets union
Ministers had a first exchange of views on the legislative proposals in the area of the Capital Markets Union (CMU) presented by the Commission on 25 November.
The CMU package, composed of a communication to take stock of the action plan and seven sectoral legislations that can be regrouped into four different legislative blocs: AIFMD; ELTIF; ESAP; MiFID/MiFIR. The aim of the legislative package is to better connect EU companies with investors and improve their access to funding, as well as broaden investment opportunities for retail investors and better integrate capital markets.
Economic recovery in Europe
Ministers took stock of the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
The implementation of the Facility is on track. 22 recovery plans were approved by the Council. Overall, the plans approved so far represent EUR 291 billion in non-repayable financing and EUR 154 billion in loans. 18 member states have already received the pre-financing money in total value of more than EUR 54,2 billion to support their economies based on green transition and digital transformation.
Andrej Šircelj, Slovenian Minister for Finance
All member states except the Netherlands have submitted their Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRPs).
The Council has adopted 22 Council implementing decisions approving Commission’s assessments of RRPs and disbursed already more than EUR 50 billion of pre-financing to kick-start investments and reforms.
Ministers discussed the European Semester 2022, including an annual sustainable growth survey 2022, an alert mechanism report 2022 and a recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area as part of the Autumn package presented by the European Commission on 24 November 2021.
European Fiscal Board
The Chair of the European Fiscal Board presented the EFB’s 2021 annual report on recent fiscal policy developments in the EU.
On 10 November 2021, the EFB published its fifth annual report. The report assesses the implementation of the EU fiscal framework during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic and recalls its proposals for improving fiscal governance against the background of the relaunch of the economic governance review by the Commission.
EU general budget 2022
Ministers agreed to add a statement to the Council minutes regarding the increase of the European Parliament’s staff in the budget for 2022.
The Council adopted on 23 November the 2022 EU general budget following an agreement reached with the European Parliament on 16 November 2021. Next year’s budget sets total commitments at €169,5 billion and payments at €170,6 billion.
Report to the European Council on taxation issues
Since June 2012, the Council prepares biannual reports to the European Council on tax issues. These reports are agreed in the Council preparatory bodies, and more specifically in the working party on tax questions.
Fit for 55 package
Ministers took note without discussions of the presidency report on the progress reached with the Fit for 55 proposals, with particular attention to the proposals for a carbon border adjustment mechanism and a review of the energy taxation directive.
Further to the resignation of Magdalena Andersson from the position of IMFC Chair, ministers of finance and economy supported Nadia Calviño, Deputy Prime Minister of Spain as the new EU candidate for the position of Chair of the IMF’s International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). Nadia Calviño will now apply for the position through the applicable procedures in the IMF.
The Council also adopted without discussion the items that figure in the lists of legislative and non-legislative A items.