On 15 January 2019 the Commission has kick-started the debate on reforming decision-making for areas of EU taxation policy, which currently requires unanimity among the Member States. According to the communication published by the Commission, such unanimity often cannot be achieved on crucial tax initiatives, and can lead to delays and sub-optimal policies.
The Commission suggests a gradual transition to qualified majority voting (QMV) under the ordinary legislative procedure in certain areas of shared EU taxation policy, as is already the case with most other EU policy areas. This possibility is envisaged by the EU treaties.
Pursuant to the communication of the Commission, under QMV, Member States would be able to reach quicker, more effective and more democratic compromises on taxation matters and also, under the ordinary legislative procedure, taxation decisions would benefit from concrete input from the European Parliament, better representing citizens’ views.
The Commission elaborated a gradual, four-step progression towards decision-making based on QMV, where “Step 1” would be the QMV decision-making in fighting tax fraud, tax evasion, as well as for administrative initiatives for EU businesses. “Step 2” would be the transition to QMV decisions relating to measures in which taxation supports other policy goals (e.g. fighting climate change). “Step 3” is the modernisation of the already harmonised EU rules such as VAT and excise duty rules, while “Step 4” would allow a shift to QMV for major tax projects, such as the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) and a new system for the taxation of the digital economy.