European newspaper and magazine publishers welcome EU Commission’s proposal on reduced VAT for e-publications

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) and the European Magazine Media Association (EMMA) jointly welcome the European Commission’s proposal     for a Directive as regards rates of value added tax applied to books, newspapers and periodicals that endorses the possibility for all Member States to choose to apply zero, super reduced, or reduced VAT rates, which are currently applicable to printed newspapers and magazines, to the digital environment.

The proposal, which was released today, states:

“Member States should be enabled to align the VAT rates for electronically supplied publications with lower VAT rates for publications on any means of physical support.”

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker formally initiated the need for this change in a speech in 2015 at the BDZV Congress. In this context, the Commission issued a public consultation, which ran until last September, to which ENPA and EMMA responded, reiterating the urgent need for reducing VAT rates for the press publishing sector in the digital environment.

Reducing VAT rates for e-newspapers and e-periodicals in all formats and on all platforms would allow for more investment in digital innovation and journalistic content, as well as lower the administrative burdens on Europe’s press, resulting in positive consequences for the sector’s long-term sustainability. It constitutes an essential step in guaranteeing media pluralism and establishes a basis for freedom of opinion and democracy in the digital world.

ENPA President Carlo Perrone stated, “This proposal is essential for ensuring press publishers a sustainable future in the digital environment. It contributes to Europe’s main’s democratic values in promoting access to professional journalistic content, education and media literacy, and many European citizens are accessing their news today via digital platforms.”

“Today, member states are able to apply zero, reduced or super-reduced VAT rates to the printed press, but must apply the standard VAT rates to digital content” said Auke Visser, EMMA President. “This situation no longer reflects reality, as citizens consume press content across all existing platforms – paper, the internet, mobile, tablets or social media. We appreciate today’s proposal of the European Commission that updates the VAT system to reflect this reality.”

For further information contact:

Max von Abendroth 
Executive Director, EMMA

+32 2 536 06 04

Sophie Scrive 
Executive Director, ENPA 

+32 2 551 0197


The European Magazine Media Association, is the unique and complete representation of Europe’s magazine media, which is today enjoyed by millions of consumers on various platforms, encompassing both paper and digital formats.

The European Newspaper Publishers’ Association (ENPA) is the largest representative body of newspaper publishers across Europe. ENPA advocates for 14 national associations across 14 European countries, and is a principal interlocutor to the EU institutions and a key driver of media policy debates in the European Union.