Building a Fiscal Territory in Europe: Prohibiting, Harmonizing, Approximating, Guaranteeing, Informing

prisme9Prisme N°9 March 2007

Évelyne Serverin

Prisme N°9 March 2007 (176.5 KiB)

Community law has created a fiscal territory by using a series of legal techniques founded on different parts of the Treaty. By dividing Europe’s complex legal structures into five categories of action, we seek to elucidate the foundations, and nature, of EU tax policy. We can separate these legal techniques into two groups, depending on whether they involve taxation, in the strict sense of the word, or other rights and liberties.

Three actions are directly associated with taxation: prohibition, harmonization and approximation. Two other actions do not affect substantial tax law, but influence its application: guaranteeing the exercise of fundamental liberties and informing the Member States. We shall evaluate the relative weight of these two groups of actions through an analysis of the instruments available to the Community and their associated jurisprudence.