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Marie Lamensch

In this chapter, Marie Lamensch examines specific issues relating to the VAT system. The harmonisation of the EU VAT system was one of the prerequisites for the setting up and proper functioning of a common market. The harmonisation process that has taken place is quite remarkable as the VAT legislation in each Member State is roughly identical from a regulatory perspective. However, in this chapter, the author argues that the sustainability of the harmonised VAT system is in danger due to several factors, including the unanimity requirement enshrined in Article 113 of the TFEU, which in practice prevents a much required legislative modernisation of the EU VAT system. The author also examines, in particular in the light of recent reforms aiming at tackling issues related to digitalisation and e-commerce and facilitating the implementation of the destination principle in crossborder B2B transactions, the absence of harmonised administrative practices and of a dispute settlement system, the increased reliance on administrative cooperation between the Member States without much transparency and the failure to investigate new technologies as a means to support collection and enforcement. She argues that further research is necessary to address these shortcomings sooner rather than later.