Next week will be a mixed week with committee meetings and plenary sessions in the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will gather virtually and in person in Brussels. Several interesting votes and debates are scheduled to take place.
On Tuesday, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (“ECON”) will have a debate on digital taxation. In an (non-legally binding) Own-Initiative Report, MEPs Andreas Schwab (DE, EPP) and Martin Hlaváček (CZ, RE) argue that digital businesses and services need to pay their fair share of taxes. They consider that there is a clear need to address the under-taxation of the digital economy by moving from a tax model based on permanent establishment towards a model that is based on sales, or on a to-be-defined “virtual permanent establishment.” The Rapporteurs prefer a multilateral solution and a quick conclusion of the negotiations within the Inclusive Framework of the G20/OECD. However, they insist that the EU should stand ready to introduce its own system of taxing the digital economy by the end of 2021. In preparation of this scenario, they call on the Commission to introduce a proposal that anticipates any reform stemming from the G20/OECD negotiations. The draft report is available here.
In addition, the Rapporteurs also call on the Commission to intensify discussions with their U.S. counterparts, as the digital services tax has caused tensions in the trans-Atlantic relationship since its inception. In January 2021, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) issued a status update on its Section 301 investigations into, among other things, the EU’s Digital Services Tax with preliminary conclusions that the tax could be discriminatory, unreasonable and burdensome for U.S. businesses. The update is available here.
On Wednesday, the plenary will debate an Own-Initiative Report on marine litter and plastics. Rapporteur MEP Catherine Chabaud (FR, RE) stresses that unnecessary plastic and packaging need to be phased out and call on the Commission to draft an Action Plan at the EU level to tackle marine litter by, among many other measures, cutting down the use of plastic. Furthermore, the draft report contains many suggestions to improve the monitoring and data collection of (marine) waste management to enhance the circular economy. The draft report does not call for the introduction of new (restrictive) regulations on the use of certain materials. It does suggest that more research should be done, for example, on the impact of nano and micro plastics. The draft report is available here.
For the complete agenda and overview of the meetings, please see here.