Tax chief orders probe into treaty unanimity ‘loophole’

first_img“The decision at Nice will enable as small a group as eight member states to decide to cooperate more closely after approval within the Council by qualified majority,” he wrote in a paper on the future of EU tax policy.The Commissioner confirms that he has instructed officials working in the taxation and customs directorate to “identify areas of taxation where the use of enhanced cooperation may be appropriate”.Under the Nice Treaty provisions for enhanced cooperation, a minimum of eight member states can agree common rules among themselves – provided the deal does not breach existing single market law or distort competition and trade in the EU as a whole. Bolkestein says that despite the difficulties posed by these conditions enhanced cooperation could be used in a number of areas.“Applying the principles of the Nice Treaty would mean that if a sub-group of member states can agree on a multilateral tax treaty or on a certain tax measure that would facilitate the activities of [small and medium-sized enterprises] operating between those countries, this should in principle be permitted,” he states.But he admits that the safeguards for the single market and competition mean that it will be very difficult to find areas where enhanced cooperation could be used. “The enhanced cooperation could be targeted so as to produce benefits for the participating countries that non-participants would be motivated to become involved,” the paper states. “But it should not be allowed…to remove tax distortions where non-participating member states would obtain a clear disadvantage.”Gerhard Huemer, tax expert at the European Small Business Federation, said the proposal “would really be a step forward because double taxation agreements are a general barrier to SMEs. It would make it a lot easier to do cross-border business”.Member states will be able to take advantage of the new rules on enhanced cooperation when the Nice Treaty is ratified by all 15 member states, which is expected in the next 12 to 18 months.Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and Budget chief Michaele Schreyer have recently called for enhanced cooperation to be used to agree an energy tax which has been blocked for four years by fierce opposition from Spain, Greece and other states.last_img read more

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Private prosecutions to cause surge in professional negligence work

first_imgProfessional negligence lawyers should brace themselves for a flurry of work arising from a surge in the number of poorly advised private prosecutions, experts in the field have predicted.Colin Witcher and Anthony Eskander, of Church Court Chambers, told the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association conference that they expected an increase in actions against solicitors where their conduct caused the collapse of a prosecution and/or adverse costs orders. The barristers, who represented campaigner Marcus Ball (pictured above) in his private prosecution of Boris Johnson earlier this year, said there had been a ‘marked increase’ in similar proceedings brought by individuals. But with the increase has come more law firms claiming to be specialists in the field and making unrealistic promises of success.Witcher said: ‘In [our] chambers it has been about a 3,000% increase in enquiries from serious causes wanting advice in prosecutions. The risk of that is that people are running before they are walking, which is where professional negligence lawyers come in.’ He added that the courts have been quick to award costs against losing parties ‘no questions asked’ and that this may have been meant as a warning to lawyers not to bring unmeritorious cases. ‘There will be victims [who are] very unhappy a private prosecution goes wrong and they are lumbered with costs almost always in six figures.’ Witcher and Eskander attribute the increase in private prosecutions to a number of factors, including a lack of confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service, the victim wishing to retain control, and active involvement and wider public awareness of the right to bring private prosecutions. Earlier this year, all members of the Private Prosecutors Association agreed to abide by a published code that aimed to improve the standard of prosecutions and set a benchmark for best practice.last_img read more

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Fyra dispute settled as AnsaldoBreda buys back V250 trainsets

first_imgNETHERLANDS: National passenger operator NS has reached agreement with AnsaldoBreda and its parent company Finmeccanica to settle the ongoing dispute over the V250 trainsets supplied for the aborted Fyra high speed services linking Amsterdam with Brussels and Breda.Under an agreement announced on March 17, AnsaldoBreda will take back all 16 V250s ordered by NS and return €125m to the operator, which says its loss on the debacle is now capped at €88m. Having taken legal advice, both parties agreed that a compromise would be more beneficial than continuing the protracted legal action, and allow them to ‘fully concentrate’ on their normal business. AnsaldoBreda is currently building 50 V300 high speed trains for Trenitalia in partnership with Bombardier.Ordered as long ago as 2004, the V250s were withdrawn in January 2013 after little more than a month of international service, following a series of technical failures. Belgian operator SNCB subsequently cancelled its contract for three trains which had not been delivered, and NS decided in June 2013 to abandon the Fyra project despite having already accepted several trains and put them into operation.Both parties accept that the trains could have been repaired and returned to commercial service. According to a joint statement, ‘the disagreement between the parties concerned a different assessment of the conditions under which this recovery would be possible. Basically it was not about the robustness of the design, but about acceptable deadlines for repair and employability that failed to meet the needs of NS, and about the financial consequences.’AnsaldoBreda will take responsibility for recovering the V250s that have been stored near Amsterdam. The supplier will then be free to refurbish or modify the trainsets to meet the needs of another operator. In the event of a successful sale, the agreement provides for additional payments to NS up to a maximum of €21m.Finmeccanica expressed its satisfaction with the agreement, which it said represented ‘a significant step forward’ in defining the level of risk at AnsaldoBreda. The effects of the deal have already been reflected in the company’s 2013 results.last_img read more

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Namibian president condemns anti-black racism in US

first_imgKenyan President Kenyatta signs anti-doping bill Eto’o Honoured for Anti-Racism Stand South Africa’s President condemns recent spate of racismcenter_img FILE PHOTO: Hage Gottfried Geingob, president of Namibia, looks on during a session of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, September 5, 2019. REUTERSNamibian President Hage Geingob on Monday condemned racial discrimination against black people in the United States which has seen protest worldwide for the black-lives-matter movement.The racial protest was sparked by the killing of a black American man George Floyd in the hands of police brutality from a white policeman about two weeks ago.The Namibian President said racism is a cancer that needs to be fought by all people in the world.“We fought against racism in our liberation struggle and as a country we do not in any way support discrimination of people based on their skin color. We stand together with those oppressed,” he said.Geingob said that he is happy that the condemnation of racism worldwide is being driven by all people regardless of color, a move that shows the world does not condone segregation.Relatedlast_img read more

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Ex-Bossier star Hall on Athletes in Action Tour of Poland

first_imgNATCHITOCHES — After a breakout sophomore season last winter, Northwestern State basketball player Devonte Hall is hoping to have bigger impact in Poland as part of an Athletes in Action tour group.Hall, a junior-to-be from Bossier City and Bossier High School, is one of 10 college players who flew out of Chicago this weekend for the tour, which will include games against teams that play in Polish pro leagues.“We are going to have Bible study,” said Hall, who becomes the latest in a series of Demon basketball players who have participated in Athletes in Action tours in Asia and Europe. “Without God, there’s no telling where I would be right now.”Sharing his Christian testimony, which includes his faith helping him cope with the loss of his father, is something Hall was eagerly anticipating going into the trip.He’s also excited about playing with teammates from Baylor, Wake Forest, Clemson, Sacred Heart, Missouri State, Arkansas State, Alabama-Huntsville and two members of Poland’s junior national team. John Jakus, an assistant coach at Gonzaga, is the head coach of the AIA Poland Tour squad.The AIA tour also provides Hall some quality basketball opportunities.“It is going to help me grow and mature because those guys (opponents) are professionals. That will be a good opportunity for me to see where I am and what I can improve on,” he said.As a sophomore in 2015-16, the 6-foot-1 Hall ranked 14th nationally and first in the Southland in assists per game (6.3) after being thrust into the starting point guard role following the opening-game loss of star senior Jalan West to a season-ending knee injury. Hall’s 14 assists at Central Arkansas were the most by any Southland player this year and tied for the eighth-best single-game performance in NCAA Division I last season.Along with leading the conference by a full assist per game, Hall ranked fifth in the league with a plus 2.1 assist-turnover ratio. His 12.9 scoring average in conference games ranked 18th among all league players. Hall was fourth in the conference in double-double games (double figures in two stats) with four.Hall, who has a 3.1 grade point average in accounting, was nominated for Academic All-Southland Conference.— Northwestern State Sports Information; featured photo by Gary HardamonTop Expat InsuranceExpat Living in Hong Kong without Health Insurance?Top Expat Insurance|SponsoredSponsoredUndoNews gadgetThis watch takes the whole country by storm! it’s price? Ridiculous!News gadget|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Secret Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unblock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoPerfect-Dating.comAre You Ready to Meet Cool Guys in Tung Chung?Perfect-Dating.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Trick Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unlock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoCelebsland.com9 Celebrity Before-And-After Plastic Surgery DisastersCelebsland.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndolast_img read more

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Sergi Darder: Espanyol have to try and win La Liga

first_img Sport EN 27/07/2018 CEST Sergi Darder it seems has not put a limit on his dreams this season. The Espanyol midfielder is very enthusiastic ahead of the new campaign. “We are optimistic and looking forward to having a great season,” he said. “We have to try and win the league. We know it will be 99.9 per cent impossible but we have to set out ambitious objectives.” Upd. at 18:31 center_img IN SPORT.ES Sergi Darder: “Hay que intentar ganar la liga” Darder arrived at Espanyol from Lyon last season. He is with his team in the USA where they are taking pre-season training, which ends next Sunday.last_img read more

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