EATLP from its birth to its current and future challenges
EATLP originates from a challenge of a few tax law professors in the 1980s, among them Pietro Adonnino, Augusto Fantozzi, J. Manfred Mössner, Kees van Raad, Gilbert Tixier and Klaus Vogel. At that time, J. Manfred Mössner, Kees Van Raad and Gilbert Tixier already brought together their students in the Leiden-Osnabrück-Paris seminar. It was Kees van Raad who had then the idea of opening up this group to more European countries.
At the beginning of the 1990s J. Manfred Mössner started collecting the information about academic publications in tax law and the professors teaching tax law at European universities. By the end of 1996 he had found 92 names and addresses of professors of tax law within the European Union. He obtained a generous funding by the German Research Society (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the German Land of Lower Saxony to invite them all to a meeting at Osnabrück, which took place in 1998 and was attended by 89 colleagues. The results of the congress were published by European Taxation. At the congress, Hubert Hamaekers, the IBFD Chairman, first launched the idea to establish an Association of European Tax Law Professors, and Bertil Wiman spontaneously invited the group to Stockholm for a second meeting to be held in 1999.
Almost in parallel other similar initiatives had taken place by other European colleagues, among them the so-called Academic Committee of European Taxation (ACET) consisting of a group of colleagues - including Dieter Birk, Joachim Lang, J. Manfred Mössner, Maria Teresa Soler Roch, John Tiley - for discussing common problems of taxation. All this shows in fact that before the turn of the century the time was just ripe for international cooperation of tax law professors!
During the 1999 Stockholm congress the draft articles of association were refined and an agreement was found on integrating ACET into the association. The EATLP founding fathers - J. Manfred Mössner (president), Claudio Sacchetto (vice president), ex officio member Hubert M.A.L. Hamaekers, as IBFD Chairman (secretary), Bertil W. Wiman (treasurer), and Cornelis (Kees) van Raad – deliberated on the establishment of EATLP and on its Articles of Association, opening it up to all other professorial colleagues to join the new association. At the same time, EATLP appointed its executive board, Kees van Raad as Chairman of the Academic Committee and J. Manfred Mössner as Chairman who served for seven years.
With regard to membership, initially EATLP decided to keep a flexible criterion across the different countries based on the entitlement to mentor PhD theses in tax law. This criterion was then changed with a reference to full and associate professors of tax law, and, more recently with a new possibility for admitting tax law academics with distinction already before the formal criteria for membership were met.
The congress host also changed over the years. Initially, the EATLP Chairman, the Chairman of the Academic Committee and the Secretary General were directly involved in the organization of the congress together with the hosting University. More recently, the role of congress host was left in the hands of the local University with EATLP deciding on the sole content. Gradually, the annual congresses have taken up their current shape. Nowadays, on Thursday afternoon we start with an update of the working groups in which EATLP has a consultative status, continue with the general assembly, the cultural lecture and the get-together evening, have a full immersion on the Friday, ending with the social dinner and devote the Saturday morning in alternate years to the academic topics and the so-called President lectures, which are each time named in the honour of a former EATLP Chairman. The distinguished Professors who had the honour to deliver these lectures were Leif Mutén (2006), John Tiley (2008), Frans Vanistendael (2010 and 2014), Maria Teresa Soler Roch (2012), Kees van Raad (2016) and Frederik Zimmer (2018).
Over the years EATLP has grown and attracted more colleagues from around the world, which share the values of our association and consider it the main forum for studying and discussing the theoretical and academic issues of tax law in the era of legal globalization. At present (mid of 2020) EATLP has about 350 members from over 38 countries.
Throughout the years the generous offer of IBFD to make its premises in Amsterdam available to EATLP has proved particularly important to secure some stability to the association. Initially, the EATLP Chairman was present in Amsterdam at least once a month, then this situation has changed over time and now the Executive Board has each year two physical meetings and has two conference calls. But still Amsterdam is what EATLP calls home and the home of EATLP always has the doors open to all members for research visits.
For futher information about the foundation of EATLP, see the attached document.