On 24 November 2010, the European Commission announced that it had sent Spain a reasoned opinion (the second stage of the infringement procedure under Art. 258 TFEU) requesting Spain to amend its provisions on the reduced VAT rates for medical items.
Under the EU VAT Directive, Member States may apply a reduced VAT rate for medical equipment, aids and other appliances which are normally intended to alleviate or treat disability, and which are for the exclusive personal use of the disabled.
Spain also applies a reduced rate to medical equipment for general use, and to equipment used for disabled animals, which goes beyond the scope of the provision of the EU VAT Directive.
In addition, the EU VAT Directive allows the application of a reduced rate to pharmaceutical products which are normally used for health care, prevention of illnesses and as treatment for medical and veterinary purposes.
Spain also applies a reduced rate for medical substances used in the production of medicines, which also is not allowed under the EU VAT Directive.
If Spain does not satisfactorily respond within 2 months, the Commission may refer the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).