The Finance Ministers’ meeting held yesterday in Brussels for the May ECOFIN session reached an agreement on the Banking Package. The package of proposals is aimed at reducing risks and preserving financial stability. Further discussions are now needed with the European Parliament before its final adoption.
During his intervention, Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna addressed the issue of the Minimum Requirements for Own Funds and Eligible Liabilities (MREL) and emphasised the importance of allowing sufficient time for banks to meet these new requirements, especially due to the stricter requirements that banks must satisfy. This is particularly important for banks operating in smaller economies.
During the meeting the Minister stated that, “since this issue is of relevance to the particular bank structures in my country, we maintain that greater flexibility would need to be exercised in setting deadlines after 2024 to respect the principle of proportionality”.
The ECOFIN Council also unanimously adopted a directive on tax intermediaries aimed at preventing aggressive cross-border tax planning.
Tax intermediaries such as tax advisors, accountants, and lawyers who design and/or promote tax planning schemes will be required to report schemes that are potentially aggressive. Additionally, member states will be required to automatically exchange the information and can impose penalties if intermediaries fail to comply.
Meanwhile, the ECOFIN Council also discussed other VAT proposals, administrative cooperation in the field of VAT, VAT Recharge Mechanism, and the VAT e-publications, on which further discussions are needed for an agreement to be reached by ECOFIN Ministers.
Minister Scicluna also participated in the Eurogroup meeting which discussed the Greek economic adjustment programme, namely the return of Greece to capital markets following the eight-year bailout programme, job creation, and growth in the euro area.
Minister Scicluna was accompanied by Malta’s Permanent Representative to the European Union Marlene Bonnici and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry for Finance Alfred Camilleri.