On April 12, the European Commission put forward a proposal to apply VAT exemption on goods and services in times of crisis, in order to act as a cost relief during present and future economic emergencies.

This measure will determine the VAT-free import and the purchase of essential goods used to counter an emergency in the EU and will be implemented in the Member States, national authorities or institutions.

The beneficial impact of EU funds will therefore be strengthened, as they will serve as economic instruments to face potential natural disasters and public health emergencies, while improving the EU's Health Union and the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Among goods and services affected by this exemption there are: diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment, antimicrobials and antibiotics, blood products, radiation measuring devices.

Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, illustrated the initiative by adding: “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that these kinds of crises are multifaceted  and have a wide-ranging impact on our societies. A rapid and efficient response is essential, and we need to provide the best response now in order to prepare for the future. Today's proposal supports the EU's goal to react to crises and emergencies in the EU. It will also ensure that the financial impact of EU-level relief efforts to fight the pandemic and support the recovery is maximised.”


On April 14, the Commission adopted measures to ensure the contraction of loans, in the field of the temporary recovery facility NextGenerationEU, to be financed for the Member States and EU citizens under the most favourable conditions.The Commission will use a diversified financing strategy to find up to about 800 billion € at current prices until 2026.

In concrete terms, the loans will amount, on average, to about 150 billion € per year, a volume that will make the EU one of the largest issuers in euro. All loans will be refunded by 2058. The financing strategy will be composed by these elements: an annual decision on loan volume and six-monthly communications on the key parameters of the financing plan; transparent and structural relationships with the banks that support the emission programme; multiple financing instruments; a mix of auctions and syndications to guarantee the access to efficient financing. Furthermore, the diversified financing strategies will combine the use of different financing techniques with an open and transparent communication towards market participants.

Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for budget and administration, has declared: "NextGenerationEU marks a turning point for the European capital markets. Today we present the engine that will inject fuel destined to power NextGenerationEU. The financing strategy will make the NextGenerationEU loans mechanism operational. We will have, therefore, all necessary instruments to relaunch the economic and social recovery and promote resilient, digital and green growth. The message is clear: as soon as the Commission will be legally entitled to contract loans, we will be ready to start!”

Fight against organised crime: New 5-year strategy for boosting cooperation across the EU and for better use of digital tools for investigations


On April 14 the EC  presented a new EU Strategy to tackle Organised Crime, focusing on boosting law enforcement and judicial cooperation, tackling organised crime structures and high priority crimes, removing criminal profits and ensuring a modern response to technological developments.


The Strategy sets out the tools and measures to be taken over the next 5 years to disrupt the business models and structures of criminal organisations across borders, both online and offline. 


The strategy aims to: boost law enforcement and judicial cooperation; support more effective investigations to disrupt organised crime structures and focusing on high and specific priority crimes; make sure crime does not pay; make law enforcement and the judiciary fit for the digital age.

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