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No 8 (July 97/Juillet 97/Juli 97)
The Action Plan for the Single Market proposes the implementation of a "rolling" programme of simplification in which SLIM will be a key instrument to improve and simplify Single Market legislation in those areas where over-complex rules still impose significant burdens on business. The Action Plan indicates further areas of legislation to be included in the rolling programme that will allow for a coherent long-term simplification strategy. These areas are the following: consumer services, insurance and securities, telecommunications, and other sectors including probably company law. The Commission will define new areas and establish teams for the third and fourth phase of SLIM by January and May 1998, respectively.
For 1997, taking into account the requests made by the Member States, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and business representatives, it has been agreed that the next phase of SLIM should cover the following sectors: Value Added Tax obligations, banking services, the combined nomenclature for external trade and fertilisers. Teams started their work in mid-June and will submit their recommendations by the end of October. The Commission will prepare a Communication with comments to these reports for the Internal Market Council in November.
Value Added Tax is a subject of great interest to a wide range of companies of all sizes. The present system, despite the efforts made in the past three years, still gives rise to complaints that it is over-complicated and burdensome. The SLIM discussion will focus on those key obligations at national and Community level that create burdens for business, such as the principal obligations on traders under the Sixth VAT Directive 77/388/EEC and the corresponding national application measures. Among the elements to be examined will be VAT declarations, invoicing requirements and the obligation to designate a fiscal representative.
The simplification exercise is separate and distinct from the Commission work programme to establish a common-origin based VAT system, to whose aims it should contribute.
Certain parts of European banking legislation are unnecessarily costly for banks, contain burdensome procedures to carry out business or have become effectively obsolete in the course of time. The issues to be examined by the SLIM team include:
Because of the need to reflect Community trade policy measures in the Combined Nomenclature (CN) and to respond to requests for statistical information for different trade interests, there has been a growth of CN subdivisions since the achievement of the customs union in 1968, which has made the CN for external trade far too complex. The need to simplify it in a manner compatible with the actions already proposed for Intrastat in the first SLIM phase makes work in this area all the more urgent.
The aim of the SLIM team will be to target for elimination CN subdivisions which have become obsolete in economic and trade terms, taking into account proposals made in respect of the Intrastat system.
The focus of the SLIM exercise will be Directive 76/116/EEC on fertilisers. This Directive has been added to, amended and adapted on a total of 16 occasions. The work of the team will cover the following issues:
Ana Gallo Alvarez
TEL: (+32 2) 296 30 12
FAX: (+32 2) 296 09 50