Mussolini delivers sanitary napkin to Gentiloni: “Take VAT to zero”

Blitz of the MEP in the press room of the European Commission

Blitz in the press room of the European Commission by Alessandra Mussolini. The Forza Italia MEP, at the end of the press conference on the budget guidelines for 2024, approached the speaker’s desk in the hall of Palazzo Berlaymont, in Brussels, and wished the commissioner for the economy Paolo Gentiloni “happy 8th March ” and gave him a “pad with wings”, because those with wings, he later explained, “cost more”.

The MEP’s action is part of the battle she is carrying on to obtain the tax reduction of sanitary towels, which women need constantly over a long period of life: “The violations of health rights – Mussolini states in a note – are a form of violence that hinders progress towards gender equality and the European Parliament has called on the countries of the European Union to ensure that high-quality, comprehensive and accessible rights are offered and to remove all barriers that prevent women from use these services”.

“In this context – he continues – the European institution underlined the negative effects of the ‘Tampon tax’ on gender equality and invited the Member States to exploit the flexibility introduced in the VAT directive and to apply exemptions or 0% VAT rates to these essential goods”.

“Currently – continues Mussolini – in Europe only Ireland has abolished the tax on sanitary pads while other states including Scotland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have provided for free distribution for female students, in prisons and public bodies. The ‘ Tampon Tax’ in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and Portugal oscillates between 4 and 7%, in Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria it is 10%.In Italy it has recently been reduced to 5% with the law of budget 2023”.

“Women on average – he recalls – have their periods for about 40 years of their lives (fertile age 12-51 years) which means that they will have their periods for about 2,400 days, consuming from 11,000 to 14,000 sanitary pads with a cost that is around to 6 thousand euros. We need sanitary pads not to be considered a luxury item but to guarantee adequate access to intimate hygiene devices”.

“We therefore ask as a delegation from Forza Italia-Ppe: menstrual leave, the 0% tampon tax and the harmonization in the member states of the rules concerning the rights to health and gender equality”, he concludes.