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Finance and Monetary Affairs in the EU

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

Long-term sustainability of public finances in the European Union
In the coming decades, the size and age-structure of Europe's population will undergo dramatic demographic changes. Ageing populations will pose major economic, budgetary and social challenges. This report , adopted by the Commission on 12 October 2006, is the first one dedicated exclusively to the long-term sustainability of public finances. The analysis in the report concludes that on current policies the government debt in the EU will increase very significantly over the coming decades.

Speakers on the euro
Euro Team - A network of speakers on the euro in the 10 new EU Member States

European Accountants encourage MEPs to support one benchmark audit
In publishing a briefing note on Statutory Audits in the European Union, FEE (The European Federation of Accountants) notes that it is in the public interest if statutory audits of all companies are carried out in accordance with international standards.

VAT Invoicing Rules in the EU
EU Council Directive 2001/115/EC harmonises, simplifies and modernises invoicing obligations on traders when they sell goods or services that are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT). It also creates an EU legal framework for electronic transmission and storage of invoices.

EU Tenders - Public procurement in the European Union
All public tenders exceeding specific contract values must be published in the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union.

Taxation in the EU
Within the EU, governments retain sole responsibility for levels of direct taxation – i.e. tax on personal incomes and company profits. What EU taxation policy does is ensure that tax rules are consistent with the goals of job creation, the EU's competitiveness, the single market and free movement of capital.

EU Stability & Growth Pact
The European Union Stability and Growth Pact is the EU's answer to concerns about the continuation of budgetary discipline within Economic and Monetary Union.

Euro facts and figures
Euro-zone countries share a common European currency, the euro. They have locked the exchange rates of their national currencies to the euro, and share a single interest rate.

EU funding
European Union funding is administered by the European Commission. It is designed to help businesses and communities across Europe.

EU customs union
The EU customs union, one of the EU's earliest milestones, abolished customs duties at internal borders and put in place a uniform system for taxing imports. Internal border controls subsequently disappeared. Customs officers are now found only at the EU’s external borders. They not only keep trade flowing, but help protect the environment, our cultural heritage and plenty besides.

Economic and Monetary Affairs in the European Union
In order to deliver steady growth and create jobs across the Union, member governments must run their economies according to the same sound principles of economic management. The European Commission believes that the keys to success are close policy coordination, peer pressure and consensus. The single currency, the euro, is seen as a jey part of this process.

European Investment Fund
The activities of the European Investment Fund (EIF) are centred upon two areas, venture capital and guarantees. EIF's venture capital instruments consist of equity investments in venture capital funds and business incubators that support SMEs, particularly those that are early stage and technology-oriented; EIF's guarantee instruments consist of providing guarantees to financial institutions that cover credits to SMEs.

Free movement of capital
European Union legislation in force on the free movement of capital

VAT in the European Community
The country-specific documents on this European Commission page contain basic information on the application of VAT in the Member States for the use by administrations, business, information networks, etc.

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.