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EXME 13 / 19.09
19 / 09 / 13
An estimated €193 billion in VAT revenues (1.5% of GDP) was lost due to non-compliance or non-collection in 2011, according to a new study on the VAT Gap in Member States. The study was funded by Commission as part of its work to reform the VAT system in Europe, as well as its wider campaign to clamp down on tax evasion. The study sets out detailed data on the gap between the amount of VAT due and the amount actually collected in 26 Member States between2000-2011. The main factors contributing to the VAT Gap are also presented, along with an overview of the effect of the economic crisis on VAT revenues.
Turning frontier research into innovation: EU funds 33 new projects with ERC Proof of concept grants
The European Research Council (ERC) has today announced that 33 existing ERC grantees will receive top-up funding - worth up to €150,000 each - to bridge the gap between their pioneering 'blue sky' research and marketable innovation. The funding can cover activities aimed at commercial and societal applications, such as intellectual property rights, investigation of commercial and business opportunities or technical validation. With a budget of nearly €5 million, this first set of grants goes to researchers across 15 European countries. With one further call (with a 3 October deadline), the total budget for the full call is €10 million. The funded projects cover topics in domains as varied as neurosciences, engineering, and architecture and human rights. For instance, one researcher explores ways to develop a tablet PC, which could be used by both clinicians and family members to detect consciousness after coma in real-time; another one aims to commercialise flexible and stretchable electronics to equip eco-friendly vehicles. The funding is for up to one year per project.
List of Proof of concept grant winners:
Today, President Barroso discussed ways of boosting growth and jobs with the High Level Group on Administrative Burdens, chaired by Dr Edmund Stoiber, the former Minister-President of Bavaria. Measures include the switch to a fully electronic VAT invoicing system and reducing the number of companies that need to provide data for intra-EU trade statistics. The latest initiative, adopted in June this year, further simplifies accounting rules for small companies, with an estimated annual savings of about €1.5 billion. European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: "Within the past five years the Commission has initiated measures that reduce red tape for EU businesses by up to €32.3 billion a year. We need to cooperate closely with Member States to ensure that these savings bring real relief to businesses. In early October, the Commission will present the next steps for making EU legislation fit for purpose and reducing the burden for companies, in particular, SMEs. These efforts are essential to put Europe back on track and generate more growth and more jobs." Further information on how the Commission is easing the burden for businesses and about the "Stoiber-Group": IP/13/836 , MEMO/13/786 and MEMO/13/787 .
Results of public consultation on future of organic farming highlight demand for stricter rules at EU level
Consumers' trust in organic products together with a demand for stricter rules at EU level, are among the main elements coming out of the report on the public consultation on the future of organic farming published today by the European Commission. The on-line consultation, which took place in the first half of 2013, has attracted major interest with close to 45,000 responses. The report highlights that consumers trust organic products (71%), that they buy them mainly out of concern about the environment (83%), and because they are free from GMOs and pesticide residues (81%). The vast majority (78%) also indicated that they were prepared to pay more for organic goods. The report also shows a very strong demand for harmonized rules at EU level, with 74% of all respondents requesting European organic standard to be strengthened and 86% wishing organic rules to be uniform across the EU. More than half of the interviewees also strongly required to improve the European control system for organic products. The results of the public consultation will feed the on-going review of the political and legal framework for organic agriculture in Europe, with an overall strategy to be put forward in early 2014. More information, including the full text of the report, is available at http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/organic/news_en
What Commissioners said
In a speech given to an audience of young people at the FT Millennials Summit in Brussels today Kroes emphasised the opportunities for young people with the right digital skills, highlighting the "Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs" initiative. Europeans often stigmatise failure, and Kroes emphasised how damaging this is for entrepreneurialism, calling on people to sign the StartUpManifesto ( http://www.startupmanifesto.eu). "Why shouldn't the next Facebook, the next Google, the next Kickstarter be European? Good questions. I think they can".
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