Brussels, 19 March 2003 7431/03 (Presse 79)
2497th Council meeting - ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL AFFAIRS - Brussels, 19 March 2003
President : Mr Nikos CHRISTODOULAKIS, Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance of the Hellenic Republic
TAX PACKAGE - PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS 4
Energy taxation 5
ANY OTHER BUSINESS 5
The Governments of the Member States and the European Commission are represented as follows:
|Mr Didier REYNDERS||Minister for Finance|
|Mr Thor PEDERSEN||Minister for Finance|
|Mr Hans EICHEL||Federal Minister for Finance|
|Mr Caio Kai KOCH-WESER||State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance|
|Mr Nikos CHRISTODOULAKIS||Minister for the National Economy and Finance|
|Mr Rodrigo DE RATO Y FIGAREDO||Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Affairs|
|Mr Estanislao RODRÍGUEZ-PONGA Y SALAMANCA||State Secretary for Finance|
|Mr Pierre SELLAL||Ambassador, Permanent Representative|
|Ms Anne ANDERSON||Ambassador, Permanent Representative|
|Mr Giulio TREMONTI||Minister for the Economy and Finance|
|Mr Jean-Claude JUNCKER||Prime Minister, Minister for Finance|
|Mr Luc FRIEDEN||Minister for the Treasury and the Budget|
|Mr Hans HOOGERVORST||Minister for Finance|
|Mr Steven van EIJCK||State Secretary for Finance|
|Mr Gregor WOSCHNAGG||Ambassador, Permanent Representative|
|Mr Vasco VALDEZ||State Secretary for Tax Affairs|
|Mr Sauli NIINISTÖ||Minister for Finance|
|Mr Gunnar LUND||Minister at the Ministry of Finance, with responsibility for EMU Issues|
|Mr Nigel SHEINWALD||Ambassador, Permanent Representative|
* * *
|Mr Frits BOLKESTEIN||Member|
* * *
|Mr Johnny ÅKERHOLM||Chairman of the Economic and Financial Committee|
TAX PACKAGE - PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS
Following a deep debate at the Council, the Presidency drew these conclusions:
"1. All delegations but one reached political agreement as follows, and reaffirmed their commitment to formally adopting the Tax Package as soon as possible.
With regards to the Directive on Taxation of savings:
2. All delegations but one agree the present draft Directive as well as to the related draft statements for the minutes of the Council and the draft resolution of the Council and the representatives of the Governments of the Member States meeting within the Council as set out in doc. 7226/03 FISC 36.
3. All delegations but one state that subject to a final scrutiny by the High Level Group the draft agreement with Switzerland as submitted to the Council on 19 March 2003, including the extension of benefits of the parent/subsidiary and interest/royalty directives with a derogation for Spain, constitutes the final offer for an agreement between the EU and this country. The four elements of this agreement relating to the Savings Taxation constitute also the basis for agreements between the European Union and Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco and San Marino.
All delegations but one encourage the Commission to finalise the draft agreement with the aforementioned European third countries as soon as possible.
With regard to the Directive on interest/royalties:
4. All delegations but one agree the present draft Directive as set out in doc. 5926/03 FISC 13 + COR 1 + REV 1 (it) + REV 2 (it) + COR 2 (en, fr), provided that Spain, Portugal and Greece may continue to apply their present withholding tax rates until the application by the Member States of the savings directive and that the transitional period granted in article 6 take effect from that date. These periods shall be eight years for Portugal and Greece and six years for Spain.
5. All delegations but one and the Commission agree that the benefits of the Interest and Royalty Directive should not accrue to companies that are exempt from tax on income covered by that Directive. All delegations but one invite the Commission to propose any necessary amendments to this Directive in due time.
With regard to the Code of Conduct:
6. All delegations but one agree that the Council will approve the following draft conclusions at the same time as adopting the two aforementioned Directives:
7. All delegations but one agree, due to exceptional circumstances, to examine favourably a Belgian request for a Decision under Article 88 (2) third sub-paragraph of the Treaty in relation to the renewal of approvals granted under the Belgian Co-ordination centres regime, and to take the decision as soon as possible."
All delegations but one agreed on the Presidency compromise on the proposal for a Directive for the taxation of energy products and electricity.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
The Council heard a request by the Italian delegation concerning the application of article 88 §2 for milk quotas in Italy.
(1) ?Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.?The documents whose references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site HYPERLINK "http://register.consilium.europa.eu/scripts/utfregisterDir/WebDriver.exe?MIval=advanced&MIlang=EN&fc=REGAISEN&srm=5&ssf=&mt=128&md=100"http://consilium.europa.eu.?Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements are available on the above mentioned Council Internet site or may be obtained from the Press Office.