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EU reform key to successful Europe, business leaders argue

CLOSER co-ordination of taxation reporting regimes and greater transparency at EU level are just two areas which UK business leaders want to see reformed during the EU membership debate, according to an accountancy forum report.

With the EU summit set to take place in Brussels next month, combined with the UK’s 2017 referendum on EU membership, senior business figures are keen to give their opinions on how EU reform could help British business, with a particular focus on tax issues.

Business in Europe: Researching Reforms for Sustainable Growth is the latest report to be released by UK and Irish accountancy forum CCAB, which holds 245,000 members across five British accountancy institutes.

Taking the opinions and concerns among senior business figures, the report reveals five major areas regarding EU reform, including the “closer harmonisation of reporting regimes including taxation reporting regimes.”

The respondents believe that the expansion of digital services could speed up this harmonisation, and they also suggest that the OECD’s BEPS protocols could be transposed into EU legislation.

Other areas for potential reform include creating a single statement of EU and national responsibilities; more transparency at EU level, whereby unelected officials in Brussels have no decision making powers; facilitating free movement of labour and being able to submit tax returns more efficiently.

CCAB Chairman Tony Nicholl believes that the report could be an “important contribution” to the debate surrounding the UK’s membership of the EU.

“The EU can be an emotive issue, but our report seeks to examine the evidence of Europe’s effectiveness from a business leader’s perspective,” said Nicholl.

“This includes making some clear recommendations on how reform could be used to transform the EU relationship and set a new foundation for collaboration with our European neighbours on areas of mutual interest. We hope the views of the respondents, and the detail of the report will help point political leaders to the business agenda for a more effective Europe”.

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