CEPS Project

Reflections on the EU objectives in addressing aggressive tax planning and harmful tax practices


The study provided an analysis of the EU’s instruments to tackle aggressive tax planning and harmful tax practices. The study considered the coherence of these instruments, their role in the EU tax agenda, their relation with international rules against tax avoidance, while looking also at their relevance, as well as the added value of EU’s approach compared to individual measures by the Member States.

The instruments under analysis were found to be internally coherent and consistent with other EU policies and with the international tax agenda, in particular with the OECD/G20 BEPS framework. The study also confirmed the continued relevance of most of the original needs and problems addressed by the EU’s initiatives in the field of tax avoidance. The analysis also emphasised the EU added value of having common EU instruments in the field to bolster coordination and harmonise the implementation of tax measures. One cross-cutting issue identified was the impact of digitalisation on corporate taxation.

Against this background, the study outlined potential improvements to the EU tax strategy such as: making EU tax systems fit for the digital era; leading the international debate on tax avoidance; enabling capacity building in Member States and developing countries; strengthening tax good governance in third countries; ensuring a consistent approach at home and abroad; achieving a level playing field for all companies; and increasing tax certainty and legal certainty.

In carrying out the study, a mix of methods was employed: desk research, interviews with stakeholders at the national, EU, and international level, as well as on assessments conducted by academic experts.

This project was awarded under the Framework Contract for the provision of evaluation and impact assessment-related services (TAXUD 2015/CC/132) with the European Commission, DG TAXUD. The full list of CEPS’ Framework Contracts is available here.



Nadina Iacob

Associate Research Fellow

+32 (0)2 229 39 67

Willem Pieter De Groen

Associate Senior Research Fellow

Inna Oliinyk

Alexandra Campmas

Associate Researche

Andrea Renda

Senior Research Fellow and Head of Global Governance, Regulation, Innovation & Digital Economy

+32 (0)2 229 39 17

Mattia Di Salvo

Associate Researcher

+32 (0)2 229 39 76

Felice Simonelli

Associate Senior Research Fellow