Digital Agenda, a priority for the Finnish Presidency
Finnish Ministers have outlined the priorities of the Presidency of the Council of the EU to parliamentary committees at the European Parliament.
Finland is holds the Presidency of the Council until the end of the year.
Some of the priorities highlighted in the meeting include digital taxation, supporting the development of digital skills and making the EU’s infrastructure more resilient to cyber threats.
The Finnish Employment Minister Timo Harakka highlighted the importance of promoting the digital agenda, including enhancing digital services to the single market.
The Economic Affairs Minister Katri Kulmuni also underlined the commitment of the country to promote a modern industrial policy driven by the digital economy, with a focus on research and innovationn.
High on the Presidency’s priority list is the battle against tax fraud and profit shifting. The Presidency wants to facilitate a harmonised digital taxation in the EU and a financial transaction tax.
The EU recognises that the digital economy has brought several benefits to citizens and companies across the member states.
However, it also believes that the rise of certain digital business is becoming a fast developing challenge to the existing Member States’ taxation systems, as in many instances taxes are not paid in the countries where the digital service is delivered.
The EU has been working on adapting member states’ taxation systems making them “fit for the digital age”.
A number of EU states, such as France, Italy, Britain and Spain, are already introducing digital tax of at national level.
Global tax reforms have proven hard to reach because of widely differing interests among top states.
Finland expects a concrete proposal on both digital taxation and green finance. Finally, committee members were more sceptical about completing the banking union and the EDIS, pointing out the lack of political will and resistance to risk sharing.
In addition, the Presidency intends to make EU’s financial infrastructure more resilient to cyber threats.
Following the recommendation of the Member of the European Parliament (MEPs), the Presidency intends to make a step to support vocational training and develop of digital skills in education.
Science and Culture Minister Hanna Kosonen, during the meeting with MEPs, highlighted the Creative Europe programme as the main priority in this field.
The minister said that she intends to focus on further developing the European audiovisual sector, including new technologies, high quality content, engagement with the audience and digital transformation.