Brussels 25, July 2016 - The European Commission has launched a public consultation on reduced VAT rates for electronically supplied publications. The objective of the consultation is to obtain the views of stakeholders on the VAT treatment of electronic publications (e-publications). Under current EU - VAT rules, electronic publications such as digital newspapers must be taxed at the national standard rate while for printed publications Member States are allowed to apply reduced or even super-reduced and zero VAT rates. The European Commission is now considering reforming these rules.
The Commission is of the view that even though there are differences between printed and electronically supplied publications with regard to the format, they offer the same reading content for consumers and the VAT system needs to keep pace with the challenges of today's digital economy.
Having carefully considered these issues, the Commission made a commitment in its 2016 Actions Plan on VAT (Com (2016) 148 final) indicating that it will make a legislative proposal in 2016 to allow Member States to apply to electronically supplied publications the same VAT rates that Member States can currently apply to printed publications.
The objective of the consultation is to seek the views on:
1. The commitment by the Commission in its 2016 Actions Plan on VAT to:
(a) allow Member States the application of reduced rates for electronically supplied publications
(b) allow Member States the application of super-reduced and zero rates for electronically supplied publications
2. The definition and scope of electronically supplied publications
3. The potential impacts of reduced rates for electronically supplied publications
The consultation ends on 19 September 2016. ENPA will contribute to the consultation underlining the need to adapt the rules urgently.
The consultation is accessible by clicking here
The ENPA and EMMA press release welcoming the VAT action plan and announcement of the proposal is available here
14 July 2016 - Antitrust: Commission takes further steps in investigations alleging Google's comparison shopping and advertising-related practices breach EU rules
The Commission has sent two Statements of Objections to Google. The Commission has reinforced, in a supplementary Statement of Objections, its preliminary conclusion that Google has abused its dominant position by systematically favouring its comparison shopping service in its search result pages.
Separately, the Commission has also informed Google in a Statement of Objections of its preliminary view that the company has abused its dominant position by artificially restricting the possibility of third party websites to display search advertisements from Google's competitors.
The full Commission press release is available here
12 July 2016 - European Commission launches EU-U.S. Privacy Shield
The new EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is based on the following principles:
Strong obligations on companies handling data: under the new arrangement, the U.S. Department of Commerce will conduct regular updates and reviews of participating companies, to ensure that companies follow the rules they submitted themselves to. If companies do not comply in practice they face sanctions and removal from the list.
Clear safeguards and transparency obligations on U.S. government access: The US has given the EU assurance that the access of public authorities for law enforcement and national security is subject to clear limitations, safeguards and oversight mechanisms. Everyone in the EU will, also for the first time, benefit from redress mechanisms in this area.
Effective protection of individual rights: Any citizen who considers that their data has been misused under the Privacy Shield scheme will benefit from several dispute resolution mechanisms - the company itself; or free of charge Alternative Dispute resolution (ADR) solutions, the national Data Protection Authorities will work with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that complaints by EU citizens are investigated and resolved.
Annual joint review mechanism: the mechanism will monitor the functioning of the Privacy Shield, including the commitments and assurance as regards access to data for law enforcement and national security purposes.
The "adequacy decision" will enter into force immediately. Once companies have had an opportunity to review the framework and update their compliance, companies will be able to certify with the Commerce Department starting August 1.
The EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is supposed to reflect the requirements set out by the European Court of Justice in its ruling on 6 October 2015, which declared the old Safe Harbour framework invalid.
For the Commission press release and further information click here
Brussels, 6 July 2016 – European Parliament Plenary adopts further restrictions advertising for energy consuming products
The European Parliament voted in plenary on the report of Mr Tamburrano (EFDD/IT) on the proposal for a regulation setting a framework for energy efficiency labelling and repealing Directive 2010/30/EU. The majority of MEPs unfortunately adopted an amendment obliging suppliers and dealers to “make reference to the energy efficiency class of the product in any visual advertisement or technical promotional material for a specific model of products in accordance with the relevant delegated act”.
ENPA together with a coalition of media and advertising organisations have stressed ahead of the vote that a free, independent, pluralistic and vibrant media in Europe depends on advertising. The extension of information requirements for advertising puts the financing of the press and other media at risk, as it will result in advertisers choosing alternative ways to promote their products - rather than placing ads in the media. An informed purchase decision of the consumer is however possible without harming advertising as an important source of revenue for the press and other media by putting detailed information about the energy consumption features of a product in sales rooms, online shops, technical brochures.
The final text adopted by the EP can be found here.
Brussels, 26 May 2016 - EMMA and ENPA welcome ECOFIN Council conclusions on VAT for the e-publications
On 25 May 2016, the Council of the EU (ECOFIN) adopted conclusions on the VAT Action Plan “Towards a single EU VAT area”, published on 7 April by the European Commission. The Council notably “INVITES the Commission to present a legislative proposal which integrates provisions concerning VAT rates for e-publications in the context of Digital Single Market initiatives by the end of 2016 and include an impact assessment”.
Newspaper and magazine publishers welcome this statement, which supports the European Commission announcement to come out with a legislative proposal by the end of the year. As announced by President Juncker in May 2015, this proposal should allow Member States to apply the same reduced rates existing on printed newspapers, magazines and books to digital publications.
According to the Sixth VAT Directive, Member States can apply reduced rates to the printed press while they have to apply the standard VAT rate to the digital press. This situation does not make sense at a time where more and more citizens read press content indifferently on all existing platforms and devices, be it on paper, Internet, mobile, tablet or social media.
ENPA and EMMA have therefore long been calling for a reform of the VAT system that would modernise the rules and take into account today´s reality. We expect from this change a boost for the development of attractive digital press offers, an eased access for citizens to press products of their choice, and a positive impact on the economy, employment and democracy.
EMMA and ENPA will continue supporting the institutions in their intention to adapt the VAT rules to the digital world and allow for reduced, super-reduced and zero VAT rates for the printed and digital press.
Brussels, 25 May 2016 - EU Commission updates EU audiovisual rules and presents Communication on online platforms
The EU-Commission today proposed an update of EU audiovisual rules which contains the following changes and proposals:
Platforms which organise and tag a large quantity of videos will have to protect minors from harmful content (such as pornography and violence) and protect all citizens from incitement to hatred
The Directive shall now ensure that regulatory authorities are truly independent from governments and industry
The Commission wants to oblige on-demand providers to ensure at least 20% share of European content in their catalogues.
The revised Directive gives broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown – the overall limit of 20% of broadcasting time is maintained between 7 am and 11 pm, but instead of the current 12 minutes per hour, broadcasters can choose more freely when to show ads throughout the day. Broadcasters and on-demand providers will also have greater flexibility to use product placement and sponsorship, while keeping viewers informed.
Furthermore the EU-Commission published today a Communication on online platforms.
Brussels, 25 May 2016 - EU-Commission proposes new e-commerce rules
The European Commission today tabled a package of measures to allow consumers and companies to buy and sell products and services online more easily and confidently across the EU.
Today’s e-commerce package is composed of:
Brussels 12 May 2016 - Public consultation for the Fitness Check of EU consumer and marketing law published
This consultation takes place in the context of the 'Fitness Check' of EU consumer and marketing law. The purpose of the Fitness Check is to evaluate if these directives are fit for purpose on the basis of the criteria of effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value.
The findings of the Fitness Check will provide basis for future policy initiatives in this area. The current consultation therefore includes forward-looking questions on the potential areas to modernise the EU consumer and marketing rules. The results of this public consultation will also feed into the currently ongoing legislative process on the Commission Proposal for a Directive on certain aspects concerning contracts for the online and other distance sales of goods .
Deadline for the response is 2nd of September.
World Press Freedom Day 2016
Commissioner Oettinger stresses importance of protecting and defending media freedom and pluralism
Today, European Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, gave a the keynote speech at the Difference Day at the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, honoring those who make a difference in protecting and defending media freedom and pluralism.
The Commissioner underlined that even if it is mainly for Member States themselves to ensure media freedom and pluralism within their respective countries, the Commission is following with great interest developments in the Member States and will not hesitate to act as a watchdog for media freedom and pluralism, when EU law is at stake. As Commissioner in charge of media freedom and pluralism, he outlined the different policy areas in which the Commission is taking action in order to protect those values.
He underlined his strong believe that copyright is also of paramount importance when talking about how to guarantee press freedom and how to encourage quality journalism, including online. The Commission is therefore also asking about the impact that a possible change in EU law to grant publishers a new neighbouring right would have on them and on the whole publishing value chain.
In 1993 the United Nations General Assembly declared May 3rd to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Erasmushogeschool Brussel, BOZAR, Evens Foundation & iMinds, together with ENPA and other partners (EMMA, EPC, WAN, EBU, ACT, MPAA, European Commission, UNESCO, European Parliament..) were celebrating May 3rd as Difference Day.
Celebrating freedom of the press and freedom of expression means honouring people and organisations that make a difference in protecting and promoting these values.
20 April 2016 - European Commission sends Statement of Objections to Google on Android operating system and applications
The EU-Commission has informed Google on 20 April of its preliminary view that the company has, in breach of EU antitrust rules, abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators. The Commission's preliminary view is that Google has implemented a strategy on mobile devices to preserve and strengthen its dominance in general internet search.
Adoption of the Trade Secrets Directive by the European Parliament: Investigative journalism must be guaranteed
Brussels, 14 April 2016 – Today, the European Parliament adopted the Directive on the protection of Trade Secrets. European journalists and media associations are concerned that this Directive could put journalists at risk therefore limiting their ability to investigate and report about businesses. This comes at a time when the “Panama Papers” revelations have reaffirmed the essential role that journalists, whistleblowers, and media play in informing citizens about issues of public interest.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Reporters Without Borders (RWB), the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA), the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU - UER) understand that the aim of this Directive is to protect European companies from industrial espionage but have continuously expressed concerns about the serious implications it could have on media and journalists’ freedom.
Brussels, 14 April 2016 -European Parliament adopts Data Protection regulation. One week after the Council, the EU-Parliament has approved the text agreed in Trialogue in December. The regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the EU Official Journal. Its provisions will be directly applicable in all member states two years after this date. Member states will have two years to transpose the provisions of the directive into national law.
European Commission publishes VAT Action Plan.
Brussels, 07 April 2016 – European newspaper and magazine publishers welcome today's announcement by Commissioner Moscovici of a specific proposal coming up this year to reduce VAT rates for
e-publications, along with what was announced by President Juncker in May 2015.
In the VAT Action Plan published today, the Commission recognises that digital newspapers and magazines cannot benefit under the current rules from the reduced rates available for physical publications. This needs to be addressed urgently. Member States can apply lower VAT rates to printed newspapers and magazines in recognition of the press plays in democracy, while they must apply the standard rate to their digital versions. Publishers are pleased to see that the Commission understands that there is a need to modernise the system to take into account today´s reality in which a significant number of European reads the press on the Internet, mobile devices and social media.
European press publishers have long been calling for such a reform of the VAT regime that would simplify the offer of bundle products, the access of citizens to press products of their choice, boost the development of the digital press market, and positively impact economy, growth and democracy. EMMA and ENPA call on Member States to actively support the Commission´s intention to publish this year the proposal allowing for reduced VAT rates for the printed and digital press.
EDAA’s OBA Self-Regulation Programme extends into Mobile
Mobile Principles launched at first ever EDAA Summit on 1 March 2016.
Brussels, 1 March 2016 – The European Interactive Digital Advertising Alliance (EDAA), of which ENPA is a founding member, announces today the launch of new Mobile Principles, adapting the EU Self-Regulatory Programme on Online Behavioural Advertising to the mobile environment.
The announcement, made at the 2016 EDAA Summit, confirms the application of the existing Principles of transparency and control to mobile web-browsing and extends the scope of the Programme to cover the collection and use of:
• cross-application data
• location data
• personal device data (such as address book)
to tailor ads to Internet users based on their interests.
The new Principles, as developed by IAB Europe, builds on the existing Self-Regulatory Principles which apply in the desktop environment. The Consumer Choice Platform at www.youronlinechoices.eu is already optimised for mobile browsing. Going forward, companies in the mobile advertising space will be required to provide enhanced notice and choice to consumers with regard to their OBA practices, through the well-recognised ‘OBA Icon’, and Consumer Choice Platform. A pan-European consumer choice mobile app will be released to improve the user experience when exercising choice on mobile.
Companies’ mobile ad operations shall also be subject to the compliance and enforcement mechanisms under the Self-Regulatory Programme.
2 February 2016 - Good by Safe-Harbour - EU Commission and United States agree on new framework for transatlantic data flows: EU-US Privacy Shield. Today, the College of Commissioners approved the political agreement reached and has mandated Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Jourová to prepare the necessary steps to put in place the new arrangement.
The new ENPA Newsletter will give regular updates about ENPA news, events and publications as well as policy issues affecting the newspaper and news media industry in Europe.
Opening speech by Mrs. Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner: “Five decades in the news - Europe and the ENPA.”
José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, and Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner responsible for Internal Market and Services, participated at the congress which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the European Newspaper Publishers' Association (ENPA). In his keynote speech the President notably said that this Association was the steward of a great tradition, a legacy that was globally respected in its intellectual richness and dexterity. He added that the ENPA was also the steward of an industry that has a very important role as a liberating force and guardian of both parts shared values.
José Manuel Barroso also hoped that the ENPA's publications would continue to serve the higher function of freedom and the public interest that has given them their great names. The EU and the newspapers of Europe both had a great numbers of achievements worth celebrating and defending. The President eventually congratulated the Association for its 50th anniversary and wished that the next 50 years would be just as successful or even more successful.
Keynote speech by European Commission president (2004-2014) at ENPA's 50th Anniversary Congress
European Commissioner for Education and Culture, Androulla Vassiliou, declared her personal support for lower VAT on digital press, in a key note speech to the ENPA General Assembly in
Nicosia, Cyprus, on 25th May. Commissioner Vassiliou said: "My personal view is that reduced or zero VAT rates should continue to be applied to printed newspapers, and that digital press formats
should be granted a similar treatment." She praised the argumentation in ENPA’s response to the Commission’s consultation on VAT last year.
The Commissioner said: "I am convinced that extending the reduced or zero-VAT rates to online publications would be economically beneficial to the providers of on-line news. It would also ensure a level-playing field with other parts of the world such as the United States. But more importantly, it would make it easier to access on-line newspapers for all citizens, strengthening the role of newspapers as an indispensable tool in the education and empowerment of citizens."
ENPA also welcomed Commissioner Vassiliou’s statement underlining that digitisation of press content has increased the need for copyright protection: “I am firmly of the opinion that news aggregators and technology platforms need to respect newspaper copyright on the Internet,” she said. In addition, Commissioner Vassiliou commended the work of newspaper publishers to actively promote media literacy across Europe.