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Taxation and Customs Union


From the afternoon of 24 October to 25 October 2023, the European Parliament and the European Commission will co-host the second EU Tax Symposium, with the theme "The future of taxation in the EU: challenges ahead & changes needed".  

Finance ministers, Members of the European and National Parliaments, high-level policy makers, academics and civil society representatives will come together in Brussels to discuss the future of our tax systems. 


The registration is now open. 


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DAY 1 – 24 October 

Venue: SQUARE – Brussels Convention Centre 

  1. 13:15
    Registration and welcome coffee
  2. 14:00
  3. 14:10
    Opening speech
    • Gerassimos THOMAS (Director General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission)
  4. 14:20
    Keynote speech
    • Vitor GASPAR (Head of Fiscal Affairs, IMF)
  5. 14:30
    Parallel sessions

    Parallel session 1: VAT in a digital world 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • Helena ALVES BORGES (Director-General, Portuguese Tax and Customs Authority)
    • Stefanie BECKER (Tax Advisor, European Tax Adviser Federation (ETAF))
    • Sophie CLAESSENS (EU Director, Amazon)

    Moderated by Mario Nava (Director General DG for Structural Reform Support, European Commission)

    VAT is an essential source of revenue for the Member States and the EU, amounting to about 20% of national revenues and having the least distortionary effects. Businesses who want to take advantage of the Single Market, especially SMEs, currently face up to 27 national VAT systems, each with separate reporting obligations. Such fragmentation can incur administrative burden and financial costs. In addition, consecutive updates to the VAT legislation have made the legal framework increasingly complex, leading to uncertainty and leaving the door open for fraud. New digital technologies, big data analysis or artificial intelligence may help solve some of the issues.

    This session will therefore look into how the current ‘transitional’ VAT system can be adapted to the digitised economy, with real time flow of information and exchange and fast-paced development. It will also delve into how evolving technologies could be used, as well as best practices in implementation.


    Parallel session 2: The role of behavioural taxation 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • Manal CORWIN (Director of Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD)
    • Niall CODY (Chairman of the Board of the Revenue Commissioners, Ireland)
    • Erich KIRCHLER (Psychologist; Professor of Economic Psychology, University of Vienna)

    Moderated by Elisabeth Werner (Deputy Director General DG Secretariat-General , European Commission)

    What is the economic rationale behind behavioural taxation? How should a tax be designed to internalise the cost of negative externalities and influence behaviour? What is the place of behavioural taxes in the future tax mix?

    This panel will try to answer these questions, analysing the role behavioural taxes should play in the policy mix and the way they interact with regulatory measures addressing the supply and demand of the same goods towards healthier and more sustainable consumer choices.

  6. 16:00
    Coffee break
  7. 16:20
    Parallel sessions

    Parallel session 3: Balancing incentives and redistribution: The future of Personal Income Taxation (PIT)

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • MEP Markus FERBER (Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
    • Ana Paula DOURADO (Director, European Economics and Fiscal Law Research Centre (CIDEEFF))
    • Jyrki KATAINEN (Nordea Bank, Former President for SITRA, Former Vice President of the European Commission)
    • Cécile BROKELIND (Chairwoman of the European Association of Tax Law Professors (EATLP))
    • Camille LANDAIS (Professor of Economics, London School of Economics) 

    Moderated by Joost Korte (Director General DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Commission)

    Personal income taxation is a key tool to shape labour market outcomes and promote redistribution. Ongoing societal structural changes are prompting a major reflection on the taxation of labour income and other forms of personal income. In particular, population ageing,  as well as increasing labour and capital mobility associated with digitalisation and globalisation, can pose several challenges to tax revenues and the progressivity function of tax systems.

    With these in mind, the panel will assess ways in which the design of the tax system can be improved to increase labour market participation – in particular of second earners (often women), individuals with lower qualifications and disadvantaged groups, as well as ensure the sustainability of our welfare systems. It will also discuss capital taxation, the future role of social security contributions in our tax benefit systems, and the impact of taxation on the mobility of capital and workers.


    Parallel session 4: The role of wealth taxation in the tax mix of tomorrow 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • MEP Aurore LALUCQ (Member of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
    • Gabriel ZUCMAN (Associate Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley; Director, European Tax Observatory)
    • Jeromin ZETTELMEYER (Director, Bruegel)
    • Cristina ENACHE (Global Tax Economist, Tax Foundation)

    The Eurobarometer survey on fairness and inequality found that 80% of European citizens believe income inequality was too high, while two thirds think that taxation has a role in redressing this. At the same time, net wealth inequality in the EU is high and increasing, with the wealthiest 1% of the population holding a quarter of all wealth, while half of the EU population shares 3% of it.

    This panel will therefore delve into discussions the potential role of wealth taxation in helping to address wealth disparities, and other megatrends such as climate change, as well as its design, its advantages and its difficulties. 

  8. 17:45
    End of Day 1
  9. 19:30
    Gala dinner

DAY 2 – 25 October 

Venue: Hemicycle, European Parliament 

  1. 08:15
    Registration and welcome coffee
  2. 09:00
    Welcome speech
    • MEP Othmar KARAS (First Vice-President of the European Parliament in charge of relations with National Parliaments, Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
  3. 09:15
    Introductory remarks
    • MEP Paul TANG (Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
  4. 09:25
    Keynote speech
    • Paolo GENTILONI (European Commissioner for Economy)
  5. 09:35
    Keynote speech
    • Nadia CALVINO (First Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister for Economy and Digitalization)
  6. 09:45
    Panel 1 | Does our tax mix age well? Next generation taxation and structural changes 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • Maurizio LEO (Deputy Minister of Finance, Italy)
    • Jesús GASCÓN CATALÁN (State Secretary Ministry of Finance, Spain (EU Presidency))
    • Fredrik PERSSON (President BusinessEurope)
    • Esther LYNCH (General Secretary, ETUC)

    Moderated by Gerassimos Thomas (Director General DG Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission)

    The EU’s demography is changing: the population is ageing and the relative working force shrinking. In a continent with unique and highly developed welfare systems whose financing is largely based on labour taxation and social contribution, this situation means our tax systems will need to be adjusted to keep up. In parallel, major trends such as the twin digital and green transitions ask for additional investment, and thus resources. Therefore, meeting the challenges of tomorrow requires action today. This panel will explore how to adapt our tax mix to new demographic realities and render it future proof in the face of other structural challenges.

  7. 11:00
    Coffee break
  8. 11:30
    Keynote speech
    • Mathias CORMANN (Secretary-General, OECD)
  9. 11:40
    Keynote speech
  10. 11:45
    Panel 2 | Decision-making on taxation: combining the national, EU and international level 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • MEP Evelyn REGNER (Vice-President of the European Parliament, Member of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
    • Jayati GHOSH (Chairwoman, ICRICT)

    In recent years, various global initiatives, such as the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and BEPS 2.0 agreements by the OECD and its Inclusive Framework (IF), have successfully addressed shortcomings in the international tax system. Simultaneously, the EU adopted numerous anti-tax avoidance legislations, such as ATAD, DAC and the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

    Despite major successes, decision-making on taxation has also attracted criticism. The way in which decision-making on taxation has developed at the EU or International level has given parliaments limited oversight on tax decisions. In addition, despite the involvement of developing countries in the IF, concerns over their ability to influence the decision-making of such fora have led to calls for the creation of a UN tax convention.

    This panel will discuss the role of the United Nations, the OECD, the EU, the EU Member States and their parliaments in the international tax policy setting and how these different governance levels can better work together to address emerging challenges to our tax systems.

  11. 13:00
  12. 14:30
    Keynote speech

    Valdis DOMBROVSKIS (Executive Vice-President, European Commission)

  13. 14:45
    Panel 3 | Beyond the international agreement: How to further improve the business tax framework within the Single Market 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • MEP Isabel BENJUMEA (Member of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
    • Karel LANNOO (CEO, CEPS)
    • Fabrizia LAPECORELLA (Deputy Secretary-General, OECD)

    Moderated by Pascal Saint Amans (Non-Resident Fellow Bruegel)

    The historic OECD agreement will massively reform international corporate taxation. Pillar 2 will ensure that multinational groups pay a minimum effective tax rate of 15% in all places where they are active, while Pillar 1 will reallocate part of taxing rights on the profits of large MNEs to market jurisdictions. 

    However, there is still work to be done. Opportunities for tax evasion and avoidance remain, and challenges specific to the EU still need to be addressed. This panel will look into ways to reduce the compliance burden for companies operating cross-border and to address tax evasion and avoidance issues while maintaining national autonomy over tax systems.

  14. 16:00
    Coffee break
  15. 16:30
    Duel of views | The future of taxation in the EU: Challenges ahead & changes needed

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • Nadine RIEDEL (Professor, University of Münster)
    • Tove RYDING (Policy and Advocacy Manager, The European Network on Debt and Development(Eurodad))
  16. 17:00
    Panel 4 | Competitiveness vs Fairness: What role can taxation play? 

    Speakers confirmed to date:

    • MEP Kira Marie PETER-HANSEN (Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
    • MEP Gilles BOYER (Member of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
    • Daniel BUNN (President and CEO, Tax Foundation)
    • Susana RUIZ (Tax Lead, Oxfam International)

    Moderated by Kerstin Jorna (Director General DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, European Commission)

    Taxation is often a trade-off between promoting competitiveness and promoting fairness. On the one hand, taxes raise government revenues, which are used to fund public services and infrastructure and have a redistributive function. On the other hand, taxation may have distortive effects, and thus negatively affect domestic and foreign investment, innovation, and productivity.

    In light of this trade-off, the panel will examine whether promoting European growth requires a reorientation towards competitiveness, even if that comes at the expense of fairness and the living standards of some. It will also tackle questions on how tax reforms can improve the EU’s competitiveness, as well as in what ways tax policy in Europe can, or should, be made fairer. Moreover, panellists will discuss how environmental taxes affect fairness and the EU’s competitiveness.

  17. 18:15
    Closing speech
    • Vincent VAN PETEGHEM (Belgian Finance Minister - upcoming EU presidency)
  18. 18:25
    • MEP Paul TANG (Chair of the Subcommittee on Tax Matters)
  19. 18:30
    Cocktail reception

Download Programme

General publications31 August 2023
Tax Symposium Draft Agenda
Cover of the TS event's programme
(1.11 MB - PDF)




The EU Tax Symposium will take place in Brussels

Day 1 

On 24 October (afternoon), the sessions and the gala dinner will take place at the SQUARE – Brussels Convention Centre (Mont des Arts, 1000 – Brussels). 

Day 2

On 25 October, the sessions will take place in the Hemicycle, at the European Parliament (rue Wiertz 60, 1047-Brussels). Entry details will be communicated closer to the event.

Practical information


Tuesday, 24 October, from 14:00 to 17:45, with a gala dinner from 19:30  

Wednesday, 25 October, from 09:00 to 18:30, with a cocktail reception from 18:30. 

Web streaming 

The event will be web streamed. 


English, with interpretation in all EU languages on 25 October only. 


Registration is required to attend the EU Tax Symposium. There is no attendance fee.