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SNELS Conference: The Power to Tax in Europe

25 november @ 13:00 - 26 november @ 13:00


Note: for submissions of papers and further information about the event, please visit our website at


The power to tax “is essential to the very existence of government”. For centuries, that power rested with the sovereign and with the nation state and this is the principle on which the legal and financial framework of the European Union is based. However, this system is being challenged by international cooperation, resulting in unification of many tax rules (i.e. the OECD/G20 Base Erosion Profit Shifting, BEPS, project), as well as by European law and ambitions in the fiscal field.

European Union law requires the removal of discriminatory national tax rules and the Commission has proposed measures aiming to further unify national tax systems, e.g. a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB). Also, the uniform implementation of the OECD BEPS project through the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD) is now coming into force. Finally, the Commission recently proposed strengthening the EU’s so-called own resources through taxes on digital services, large companies, and environmentally harmful products and activities, effectively transferring part of the tax basis from the Member States to the EU. This dramatic and complex development challenges national tax sovereignty and should be carefully considered with a view to constitutional, international and European law and what it means for taxation power.

This development and international coordination of tax law more generally affects the processes used for deciding taxes and which actors are involved in those processes. In most modern democratic states, taxes are decided by the elected legislative body, the Parliament, Congress, Reichstag etc. However, international tax coordination is achieved through negotiations and compromises by Governments. This may cause distance and tensions between the formal law makers and the negotiating bodies. It also raises democratic concerns and some fear a technocracy where taxes are decided by experts outside the political arena, a development that national politicians may resist and oppose.

The relationship between national tax sovereignty, European union law, the need for international cooperation and international law, tax competition among states, internal national rules and routines for negotiations and creation of international and European tax law provides an interesting field for discussing where taxing power ultimately lies: Who is behind the wheels of taxation?

Keynote speakers

We are proud and delighted to announce that the conference will feature the following keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Cécile Brokelind, Lund University School of Economics and Management,
  • Prof. Wolfgang Schön, Director of the Department of Business and Tax Law at the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, and
  • Prof. Robert Schütze, Professor of European and Global Law, Durham University.


25 november @ 13:00
26 november @ 13:00
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Arrangör, plats och språk

Arrangör / Organizer
The Swedish Network for European Legal Studies / Svenska Nätverket för Europarättsforskning
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Is the event in English?