European Council: extracts from the press conference by José Manuel BARROSO, President of the EC, and Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council
Lieu: Brussels, Belgium - Council / Justus Lipsius
End production: 22/05/2013 First transmission: 22/05/2013
The European Heads of State or Government gathered in Brussels today for a one-day meeting to discuss energy policy and taxation with the objective of fostering growth, jobs and competitiveness in Europe.
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso President Barroso made a presentation on the energy situation in the European Union and called for swift implementation of a number of proposals on the table. He also set out the Commission's thinking on tax fraud and evasion, in particularly calling for an ambitious European approach.
Leaders discussed effective ways to combat tax fraud and tax evasion and to tackle aggressive tax planning, such as automatic exchange of information, taxation of savings interest and measures to counter VAT fraud.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Council building
||Arrival of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and of Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council at the press conference (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Herman Van Rompuy on tax evasion: Tax matters are always sensitive – hence the treaty-need for unanimity – but by nature tax evasion is something no country can solve on its own. And just to be perfectly clear; we're not talking about tax harmonisation, but about jointly fighting despicable practices like deliberate tax evasion. So I am pleased that today's European Council managed to unblock a number of frozen files. There is movement, a real acceleration, with clear deadlines-for-result. Especially on four points. First, on VAT fraud: leaders expect their ministers to sign off no later than end of June on a set of rapid-response measures so governments can crack down on fraudsters. This is a breakthrough. It follows last week's breakthrough – and this is the second point – on the negotiation mandates on savings taxation agreed by finance ministers, after two years of blockage. The Union is now in a position to start negotiating straight away with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino to ensure these countries apply EU standards. It will do so on the basis of the revised savings directive. This in itself is an important signal, as it points to a Union-wide consensus on a text now in its fifth year of negotiation – for which we set today an end-of-the-year deadline.
||Cutaway of press
||SOUNDBITE (English) by José Manuel Barroso on energy policy: On energy and following the invitation of the President of the European Council, I presented at the beginning of the meeting different scenarios and policy recommendations. I'm happy with the reaction of the European Council and I can say that the conclusions reflect the Commission’s objectives. The reality is that the global energy landscape is changing very quickly and not in Europe’s favour. But we should not be resigned to that. I really welcome the fact that there was a support for Commission approach for what I called a NO REGRETS scenario, with action in five areas. One, complete the internal energy market. Two, invest in innovation and infrastructure. Three, commit to greater energy efficiency. Four, exploit renewable sources more cheaply. Five, diversify supplies. So we are making steps on what we could indeed call a European energy community.