The Commission Work Programme for 2017 includes 21 key initiatives to deliver a Europe that protects, empowers and defends. The Commission also recommends the temporary extension of internal border controls and proposes a major corporate tax reform.
2017 Work Programme
Grounded in President Juncker's State of the Union address and adopted today, the Commission Work Programme for 2017 proposes 21 key initiativesin all 10 priority areas to address the most pressing challenges the EU is facing:
(1) to boost jobs, growth and investment the European Commission will propose a Youth Initiative, an Action Plan on the implementation of the Circular Economy and a new Multi-annual financial framework;
(2) it will carry out a mid-term review of the Digital Single Market;
(3) it will implement the Energy Union Strategy with work on low-emission vehicles and mobility;
(4) it will build a deeper and fairer internal market by implementing the Single Market Strategy, Space Strategy for Europe and Capital Markets Union Action Plan and making proposals for Fairer taxation of companies;
(5) it will present ideas for the reform of the EU at 27 and the strengthening of the Economic and Monetary Union and it will propose a European Pillar of Social Rights;
(6) it will implement the Trade for All Strategy and pursue trade negotiations with its partners while strengthening its trade defence instruments;
(7) it will continue to pursue a Security Union to fight terrorism and will align the rules on the protection of personal data and privacy;
(8) it will deliver on the European Agenda on Migration;
(9) to strengthen Europe’s role as a global actor, the European Commission will present a European Defence Action Plan including a European Defence Fund, and the Commission and the High Representative will adopt an EU Strategy for Syria and implement the EU Global Strategy and Africa-EU Partnership;
(10) it will adapt existing laws to the Treaty provisions on delegated and implementing acts and will assess the democratic legitimacy of existing procedures for adopting certain secondary EU acts. Finally, the European Commission will step up efforts to enforce EU law.
The Work Programme also includes a further 18 REFIT proposals to improve the quality of existing EU legislation and ensure our rules are fit for purpose.
To ensure a focus on delivery, the Commission Work Programme identifies 34 priority pending proposals we have made in the past two years where swift adoption by the Parliament and Council can make a tangible impact on the ground.
The Work Programme is fully aligned with the priorities identified by the 27 EU-Heads of State or Government in Bratislava on 16 September, and includes concrete proposals which will contribute to the long-term vision of the Union ahead of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome in March 2017.
On the basis of the Work Programme, the Commission, European Parliament and Council will now work on a Joint Declaration on commonly agreed objectives and priorities for 2017, to swiftly turn proposals into action and bring concrete results for citizens.
Extending temporary internal border controls for a limited period of three months
The European Commission has today proposed a Recommendation, to be adopted by the Council, to prolong proportionate controls at certain internal Schengen borders in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, where controls already take place - according to the Council Recommendation of 12 May - for a period of a further three months.
The objective of the Commission is to return to a normally functioning Schengen area as soon as possible as set out in its " Back to Schengen" Roadmap .
Corporate tax reform
The Commission has today announced plans to overhaul the way in which companies are taxed in the Single Market, delivering a growth-friendly and fair corporate tax system. The Corporate tax reform package adopted by the College consists of three initiatives:
1)The Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB)
The Commission has improved and re-launched the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB). The CCCTB will offer companies solid and predictable rules, a fair and level-playing field and reduced costs and administration. This will make the EU a more attractive market in which to invest and do business. The CCCTB will also eliminate mismatches between national systems which aggressive tax planners currently exploit. It will also remove transfer pricing and preferential regimes, which are primary vehicles for tax avoidance today. It also contains robust anti-abuse measures, to stop companies shifting profits to non-EU countries. Since the CCCTB will be mandatory for the biggest multinational groups operating in the EU, those companies most at risk of aggressive tax planning will be unable to attempt large-scale tax avoidance.
To encourage swift progress, the CCCTB has been broken down into a more manageable, two-step process. The common base can be quickly agreed to unlock key benefits for both businesses and Member States. Consolidation should be introduced soon afterwards and would allow all the benefits of the complete system to be reaped.
Corporate tax rates are not covered by the CCCTB, as these remain an area of national sovereignty. However, the CCCTB will create a more transparent, efficient and fair system for calculating the tax base of cross-border companies, which will substantially reform corporate taxation throughout the EU.
2)Improved mechanisms to resolve double taxation disputes
Double taxation is one of the most serious tax obstacles for businesses in the Single Market. The Commission has today proposed better procedures for resolving double taxation disputes in the EU to bring greater certainty for businesses.
3)Measures to tackle tax loopholes with non-EU countries
This proposal builds on to the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive which was agreed in July, with measures to stop companies from exploiting differing rules or ‘mismatches’ between the tax systems of Member States and those of non-EU countries.
The College was updated on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) and on the inter-institutional discussions of the Commission's firearms proposal.
The Commission also reaffirmed the need for political ownership of how eco-design and eco-labelling rules are implemented and is expected to present a decision on the way forward in two weeks.