Published | 16 June 2017

European press publishers underline the need for an alignment of digital and print VAT rates, following Council Ecofin Meeting

Brussels, 16 June 2017. European press publishers regret the outcome of today’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (Ecofin) meeting, which ended without a political agreement on the adoption of the proposal to amend the existing EU VAT directive in order to allow Member States to apply reduced VAT rates to digital publications.

Earlier this month, members of the European Parliament indicated their broad support of the European Commission proposal by formally adopting its non-binding report which allowed reduced VAT rates for the digital press.

 The current VAT Directive (2006/112) allows for reduced-rates to be applied only to printed versions of magazines and newspapers at EU level, meaning that digital publications have to apply the full VAT rate. Since people increasingly access content on mobile and digital devices, the current directive no longer reflects reality. The push to modify the directive to allow Member States to align digital and print VAT rates was first initiated by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a speech in 2015, and has been supported by both EMMA and ENPA ever since.


Without the agreement in the European Council, the file will continue to be discussed under the Estonian Presidency, which starts on 1 July 2017.

To download a pdf of the full press release, click here.