The ongoing discussion concerning Vega International and the respective CJEU judgement gives us an opportunity to clarify how the card issuers operate, the purpose of fuel cards and how the contractual arrangements work among the parties involved through a chain transaction model.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and the company you represent.
I joined Edenred in 2010 and I’m currently Head of EU Affairs within the Public Affairs Department of Edenred. I develop and implement the European Public Affairs for the group. Edenred offers specific-purpose solutions notably for employees to access food (such as meal benefits), to benefit from incentives (such as gift cards, employee engagement platforms) and to facilitate their mobility (such as multi-energy, maintenance, toll, parking and commuter solutions). True to the Group’s purpose, “Enrich connections. For good.”, these solutions enhance users’ well-being and purchasing power. They improve companies’ attractiveness and efficiency, and vitalise the employment market and the local economy. They also foster access to healthier food, more environmentally friendly products and softer mobility.
2. Just last year, fuel cards producers across Europe joined forces to establish Fleet Cards Europe (FCE), As a founding member, what were some of the driving reasons behind FCE’s creation?
Before the creation of Fleet Cards Europe (FCE), stakeholders from the fuel card industry were following debates and European news through large and broad transport and mobility associations which were covering just few issues of interest for them. It was high time to organise the voice of the industry and to coordinate a more specific Public Affairs approach for the fleet cards producers at EU level. FCE represents the fuel card industry and engage with public institutions under its name; it has the capacity to voice out major positions of the industry and to implement targeted actions on issues of common interest.
3. In your role as Head of EU Affairs, what do you think are the key things that policymakers should know about the fuel card industry?
The fuel card industry is much more than just providing to drivers an instrument for their fuel supply. Our role is more related to the creation of a network of stakeholders constituting the glue between freight companies, their employees and some dedicated infrastructures enabling the access to conventional and alternative fuels, tolls, maintenance and any other business mobility needs. Doing so, the Fuel Card industry is supportive to the European freedoms of movement, notably the free movement of goods.
4. You are the Chair of the Tax Working Group. What are the current topics of interest in that area for FCE?
The major concern of the Tax Working Group is to foster understanding about fuel cards mechanisms. A lot of misbeliefs and misconceptions go around about the role and functions of fuel cards. We have to make sure that EU stakeholders understand properly the main functioning principles of fuel cards to avoid misunderstandings. The ongoing discussion concerning Vega International and the respective CJEU judgement gives us an opportunity to clarify how the card issuers operate, the purpose of fuel cards and how the contractual arrangements work among the parties involved through a chain transaction model.
5. Managing tax is a key business concern, and for those operating across borders, it can become even more complex. What are the advantages of the fuel card issuers’ business model?
Fuel cards producers indeed also manage for their customers tax and excise duty reimbursement services. Doing so, they collect, check and sort all invoices related to fuel cards use and then submit files to national tax authorities. Using fuel cards makes the process easier and more transparent. It is an efficient way to reduce the administrative burden on both the road transport industry (which entrust Fuel cards producers for this mission) and the tax administrations involved (which received bundled and verified files).
6. When it comes to the fuel card industry more broadly, what are the most exciting developments you are seeing?
I guess the growing concern about environment will surely operate some strong and exciting changes for the fuel card industry. We are already all involved to master technologies and ensure that our solutions can give access to a European-wide clean energy networks with available alternative or renewable energies.
7. If we look five years ahead, what is the impact you expect FCE to have made, both in terms of the Tax Working Group, or more generally?
I would like fuel cards to be better recognised and understood by policy makers. It would avoid some legislative risks we are facing and should not be meant to be. I am convinced that FCE members will continue their road together, as we can reach a strong efficiency in acting collectively in a coordinated way.
8. Thinking of interested enterprises which are considering joining FCE, what would be your message for them?
Being united and organised while addressing European issues has a real value. It better drives messages to destination. Furthermore, it is important to recall that being part of discussions at EU level is also being ahead of national debates. This point is without a doubt crucial for companies that would like to count on the long-run on the economic scene.
9. How can interested enterprises become members of FCE?
We are always happy to have new members. We have two membership options. Full Membership is aimed at independent fuel card issuers in Europe and Associate Membership is aimed at companies and associations, as well as individuals connected to the industry. To become a member, or to know more about our membership options, you can contact us via the contact form on our website www.fleetcardseurope.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org