On 18 June 2021, Minister Andrej Šircelj attended the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting in Luxembourg. Ministers took stock in particular on recovery and resilience plans, economic recovery in the European Union, the European Semester and value-added tax.
The economic recovery process made progress in the last two days. The European Commission has made initial assessments of national recovery and resilience plans and borrowed funds in international markets to finance the recovery. This historic moment assures the European Union that there is cooperation and solidarity between the Member States. During the debate, ministers agreed on the need to do everything possible to ensure that adopting the plans remains as smooth and transparent as possible in the following steps.
“I hope that the process will go smoothly. I also believe that this in the interest of Member States. I, therefore, hope that we will continue to work in a spirit of cooperation and that as many national recovery and resilience plans as possible will be confirmed already in the summer,” said Minister Šircelj.
In the discussions about the value-added tax, ministers firstly discussed the use of lower tax rates. They discussed the possibility of unifying solutions for all Member States. This would ensure a more equal and fair treatment of all Member States.
A discussion followed on the scope of the VAT exemption for products and services acquired by the European Commission and other European bodies or agencies to distribute it to the Member States free of charge in the event of an emergency, according to their needs.
At the meeting, ministers adopted recommendations regarding the excessive deficit procedure, recommendations on updated stability and convergence programmes and conclusions on ageing-related fiscal sustainability challenges.
At the end of the meeting, the Minister of Finance of Portugal, João Leão, symbolically handed over to Minister Šircelj the Presidency of the ECOFIN Council.