EUROPE - The European Parliament committee on economic and monetary affairs (EMAC), has unanimously voted in favour of the adoption of the draft report on taxation of occupational pensions by Dutch socialist MEP, Ieke van den Burg – throwing its weight behind the European Commission’s proposal for a communication on the fiscal treatment of pan-European pension arrangements.

The vote moves the pensions taxation quandary a step closer to a resolution with a possible vote on the issue by the European Parliament at the end of this month.

Van den Burg, the Parliament rapporteur on the taxation directive, has for the most part been supportive of the ‘tax communication’ strategy proposed by EC Commissioner Frits Bolkestein.

Speaking to IPE-Newsline about the EMAC vote, she said: “I’m quite happy with the outcome. It was almost unanimity in the vote and only Astrid Lulling from Luxembourg could not agree because she dislikes the EET (exempt, exempt, taxed) principle, but she wasn’t supported by her group.”

She added that there were amendments from the European Peoples Party (EPP) and the Liberal party and that minor compromises and changes were adopted.
“About 99% was what I proposed myself though,” she adds.

The EMAC report now goes to a plenary vote of the Parliament.
Van den Burg says the first preference would be for a vote at the plenary in Brussels on November 29, but notes that a more likely date will be the December plenary in Strasbourg.

She is optimistic about the report’s chances of being voted through by the Parliament: “Yes, there was a broad support for this. There may be some discussions about some minor issues, but I think the most important things are the conclusion and the direction that we give to the Commission.”

In her report, Van den burg noted that the ‘unanimity’ requirement in the area of taxation for any progress at the European level created difficulties and urged the Commission to make full use of all its other powers under the Treaty of Rome .

In particular, she said, this meant bringing member states before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if their tax provisions were deemed to hamper the free movement of persons.

The Commission has in the past been reluctant to launch infringement proceedings over direct taxation issues.