The upcoming Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU publishes its official programme


On 6 June 2018, the Austrian Federal Government presented in Brussels the programme for the Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Austria will hold the Presidency from 1 July to 31 December 2018, taking this role from Bulgaria.

Among the various topics, the Austrian Presidency will tackle several issues of great interest for the e-commerce industry. Those areas include digitization, taxation of the digital economy, SMEs, P2B relations and consumer protection.

Prosperity, competitiveness and   digitization

The Austrian Presidency believes that the EU should focus on avoiding over-regulation and making progress in the fields of innovation and digitization to ensure prosperity and competitiveness of the EU economy. The Presidency, therefore, aims at continuing the EU’s work on the taxation of the digital economy in order to ensure that profits are taxed in the country in which they are generated.

Taxation of digital economy

The Austrian Presidency believes that tax systems should be efficient, fair and transparent as well as that tax rules need to be modernized in view of globalization and new technologies. To that end, the Presidency aims to take strong and unequivocal positions vis-à-vis international partners, especially when it comes to taxation of the digital economy. The Austrian Presidency will give particular importance to this issue in a bid to advance the negotiations and to outline potential solutions in light of the developments at G-20, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and EU level. The work on the European Commission’s proposal for the introduction of a common corporate tax base will continue as well. In the field of indirect taxation, the Presidency plans to achieve progress on the numerous European Commission proposals for modernizing VAT.

SMEs, P2B and consumer protection

In order to keep the EU competitive on a global stage, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and scale-ups will assume a central role  during the Austrian Presidency. The aim is to establish an environment that offers legal certainty while at the same time it promotes growth and innovation to help them become more competitive. Austria will ensure systematic application of the “Think Small First” principle and will focus on the specific needs of SMEs to help them grow. The Presidency will encourage the development of innovation, artificial intelligence and professional skills as well as the improvement of conditions for digital services and digitization in enterprises. A particular focus will be on finalizing the platform-to-business trading (P2B) dossier.

Further development and deepening of the Single Market will be another priority. Austria will, therefore, continue constructive negotiations on the Single Market Programme, the goods, services and compliance packages as well as on the ‘New Deal for Consumers’ package.

Ecommerce Europe looks forward to cooperating with the Austrian Presidency to bring forward the completion of a real Digital Single Market.

For an overview of Ecommerce Europe’s recommendations on the Digital Single Market, please read our   Manifesto on Milestones to achieve a #DigitalSingleMarket.