We all knew that the European Commission is a stupid bureaucracy that often weighs down on economic growth, as shown by its thoughtless embrace of German-promoted austerity policies. The Commission only recently woke up to the fact that Germany is the greatest beneficiary of austerity policies at the expense of Euro-zone members, especially Southern Europe. And now, it has just engaged in a bit of plant legislation that will probably favor the big corporations and multinationals (see articles below). Why? You may well ask. The EU Commission's micro-management is wrecking not only the economy but also culture and the quality of life of the average European citizen.
And it continues to batter digital publishing with ridiculous taxes: it requires the full VAT rate (sales tax) on e-books while allowing a reduced rate (around 5.5%) on printed books.
The reduced rate makes sense: it is based on the concept that books are a social benefit and they deserve support. But since the European VAT laws were drawn up before the digital age, e-books are not included. They're categorzed as an electronic service, and hence cannot get a tax exemption. Many EU member countries protest (see article below about Estonia) but so far few countries have broken rank - only France and Luxembourg - and treat e-books the same as printed books. But Brussels doesn't like it. Not one bit. See here.
As long as ebooks are taxed to death compared to printed books, the digital revolution won't be coming to Europe. When will the guys in Brussels wake up?
(source of photo: authormedia - manipulation is my own)