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Malta Meets Resistance Over Zero VAT Proposals

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

12 December 2002


Malta was still facing opposition from certain EU member states over its request to retain a zero VAT rate on food and pharmaceuticals in the run-up to today's summit meeting in Copenhagen, according to reports on Wednesday.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, the jurisdiction's chief negotiator, Richard Cachia Caruana revealed that 'a couple' of EU member states had refused to agree to Malta's request for a VAT transition period longer than the five years afforded to Cyprus, with the right to review at the end of the transition period.

Although he did not specify which countries had raised objections to the Maltese proposals, Mr Cachia Caruana expressed optimism that the disagreement would be resolved soon, announcing that:

'We are not far apart but the gap hasn't been bridged. If possible we want to go to the summit with just one pending issue - the financial package.'

The Maltese government has expressed concerns with regard to the size of the financial package being offered to it by the EU, arguing that the country has 'specific needs'. However, the Maltese chief negotiator was also positive on this issue on Tuesday, observing that:

'None of the problems we have are insurmountable but we need to solve these with the member states.'


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