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Loeger chairs ECOFIN meeting for Austria for the first time The first “ECOFIN” meeting under Austria’s presidency dealt with topics such as Reverse Charge, eBooks, the conclusion of the European Semester and the focal points of the Austrian presidency

The first meeting of ECOFIN (Economic and Financial Affairs Council) under the chairmanship of Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger took place on Friday 13 July 2018 in Brussels. 

Reverse Charge

First of all, two proposals in connection with VAT were discussed: “I recently discussed with my colleagues the Commission’s proposal concerning a general reverse-charge mechanism, i.e. the shifting of tax liability from the service provider to the service recipient. In June the European Council urged that measures based on the Commission’s recommendation should be pushed forward as quickly as possible with the aim of reaching an agreement soon,” explained Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger. 


“With regard to electronic publications or “e-books”, we discussed what VAT rates should be applied in future in order to adjust for the difference compared with the tax on hard copy publications,” said Löger. 

Country-specific recommendations

At the end of the European semester the recommendations and opinions of the Council in the areas of economic, employment and taxation policy in 2018 were presented. The recommendations had already been approved by the European Council in June. “The Member States are in particular urged to use the current favourable economic trend to strengthen their individual economies on a long-term basis and make them more resilient,” said Löger in a summary of this agenda item. 

“Finally, we also discussed the timetable for the Austrian presidency,” reported Löger after the ECOFIN meeting. “Our focus will be on the completion of banking union and the setting up of a capital market union. As we mentioned at the start, will be working in particular on improvements, efficiency and justice in the taxation system, and we will ensure that the implementation of the EU budget for 2019 will accord with the principles of solid and efficient financial management,” concluded Löger.