Our Chairman Nicholas Hallam takes a look at what the future holds for VAT in the EU with the introduction of its one-stop-shop (OSS) VAT e-commerce package drawing closer.
Once again, the EU, in the midst of an unforeseen crisis, finds itself under immense structural pressure.
How will the bloc manage the conflict between the different needs of its member states, now that those needs have become life and death matters? As the Covid-19 pandemic began to grip in earnest and the death count started its inexorable and appalling rise, the prognosis did not look good.
Free movement arrangements collapsed as borders between members states were closed; Germany and France were accused of withholding vital medical supplies from Italy. Speaking a few days ago, Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission, was philosophical, trying to be both honest and hopeful about the EU’s response: “it’s in our own hands. At the beginning, we looked into the abyss but then we quickly saw positivity and cohesion in the crisis.”
Von der Leyen’s emphasis on “cohesion” may strike one as a little odd in the circumstances; it sounds almost as if cohesion were not merely a means to the alleviation of suffering, but a valid end in itself. In truth, though—and whatever its moral savor—Von der Leyen was striking a familiar note: opportunist technocratism has been part of the EU’s ideological make up since its very inception.
“The problems that our countries need to sort out are not the same as in 1950. But the method remains the same: a transfer of power to common institutions, majority rule and a common approach to finding a solution to problems are the only answer in our current state of crisis.”…