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Finance and Monetary Affairs in the EU

Latest news on economic and monetary affairs in the European Union.

VAT Invoicing Rules in the EU
The European Council adopted on 20 December 2001 a Directive (2001/115/EC) on VAT Invoicing. This Directive, which amends the 6th VAT Directive, had to be implemented into national Law before 1 January 2004. The Commission says this measure will be of significant practical benefit to firms operating within the Internal Market because it will ensure that they have only to deal with a single, simplified set of rules on invoicing valid throughout the EU instead of fifteen different sets of legislation. At the same time, the Directive requires Member States to recognise the validity of electronic invoices and allow cross-border electronic invoicing and electronic storage.

VAT: special arrangements applicable to services supplied electronically
The objective is to create a level playing field for the indirect taxation of digital electronic commerce for EU and non-EU businesses and to make compliance for non-EU businesses as easy and straightforward as possible. The changes modernise the existing VAT place of supply rules for services to accommodate the electronic business environment and to provide a clear and certain regulatory environment for all suppliers, located within or outside the EU.

Financial crime in the EU
The creation of the Single Market and the breaking down of barriers not only aids legitimate business, but may also provide increased opportunities for money laundering and financial crime. European legislation has been adopted to protect the financial system and other vulnerable professions and activities from being misused for money laundering and financing of terrorism purposes. At the wider international level, the Internal Market Directorate General heads the European Commission's delegation to the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, the foremost world body active in this area.

Regional policy in the EU
The European Union's regional policy is based on financial solidarity inasmuch as part of Member States' contributions to the Community budget goes to the less prosperous regions and social groups.

Bankruptcy - Restructuring, bankruptcy and a fresh start
Entrepreneurship can trigger the creation of wealth and employment and within the EU entrepreneurial activity should be encouraged. Many in the EU feel that there is a stigma on failure, which works as deterrent to entrepreneurial initiative. This climate is contrasted with the climate in the US where business failure is in certain business communities considered as a learning experience. This report, prepared for the European Commission in November 2003, assesses national bankruptcy laws in the EU member states and the extent to which these act as a deterrent to business survival and a fresh start, as well as the effects of social stigma on the potential of entrepreneurs who have try but fail to try again.

Accounting in the EU
In the fields of accounting, the European Commission's work is directed towards: improving the quality, comparability and transparency of the financial information provided by companies and ensuring the compatibility between the Accounting Directives and International Financial Reporting Standards. The Commission also co-operates closely with international bodies: International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), OECD, World Bank, UNCTAD, etc.

Millennium Development Goals - Europe Cares
The European Union has signed up to the Millennium Development Goals and is conscious of its particular responsibility as the largest donor of development aid and the most important commercial partner of the developing world. In order to advance progress on the MDGs, the Union has agreed on ambitious proposals in three main areas: the European Union will make more money available for development, it will improve the coherence of its policies and it will put a special focus on sub-Saharan Africa, the region most lagging behind in achieving the MDGs.

European Court of Auditors reports
Annual reports of the European Court of Auditors

Combined Nomenclature
When declared to customs in the Community, goods must generally be classified according to the Combined nomenclature or CN. Imported and exported goods have to be declared stating under which subheading of the nomenclature they fall. This determines which rate of customs duty applies and how the goods are treated for statistical purposes.

EU Budget at a glance
Taxpayers' money is used by the Union to fund activities that all Member States and parliaments have agreed upon in the Treaties. A small amount – around 1% of the Union's national wealth, which is equivalent to about 232 Euro per head of the population - comes into the EU's annual budget and is then spent mainly for its citizens and communities.

JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European RegionS)
JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European RegionS) is a major joint policy initiative of the EIB, European Commission (DG REGIO) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). JASPERS will assist beneficiary countries (principally the new Member States and acceding countries of the EU) to absorb EU Structural and Cohesion Funds over the next budgetary planning period 2007-2013.

Savings tax contact points
Savings taxation - lists of national contact points for taxpayers.

Corporate tax competition and coordination in the EU
This paper reviews the rationales and facts about corporate tax coordination in Europe. Although statutory tax rates have dramatically declined, revenues collected from corporate taxation are fairly stable and there is so far no evidence of a race-to-the-bottom. The ambiguous results from economic tax theory and the institutional setting have constrained strong EU policy action in the area of tax competition. Yet, there are welfare gains to be expected from tax coordination. Following its 2001 Communication, the European Commission is currently working with Member States on the definition of a common consolidated corporate tax base for European Companies.

Preliminary draft budget 2007
EU Budget online