Apple tax ruling encroaches sovereignty; appeal defence of EU - Minister Charlie Flanagan

Apple tax ruling encroaches sovereignty; appeal defence of EU - Minister Charlie Flanagan
By Conor Ganly

The €13billion tax ruling against Apple shows that the European Commission is “encroaching” on Ireland's soverignty according to Laois TD and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan.

The Portlaoise-based Minister also claimed that Ireland's appeal against the ruling represents a “defence of the European Union”.

Minister Flanagan addressed the Dáil Debate on the Apple State Aid case.

“I am a passionate supporter of the European Union project and I believe part of its great strength is that it is clearly governed by the rule of law. In this instance, I believe that the Commission is encroaching into the area of taxation which is a sovereign competence and I believe that the European Courts will support that view.

“Our own taxation system is founded on the strict application of the law, as enacted by the Oireachtas, without exception. The Irish Revenue Commissioners – whose integrity is widely admired - collected the full amount of tax due from Apple in accordance with Irish law. Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple. No State aid was provided. These are the simple facts,” he said.

He said the international community needs to work together to tackle the problems with the international tax system.

“Therefore this is a time when the EU should be seeking to work more closely with the United States, rather than clashing with them.

“The approach to State Aids proposed by the Commission is a recipe for uncertainty and confusion,” he said.

He said the analysis presented by the Commission sits very uneasily with the overall Commission demand for responsible fiscal management by the Member States.

He added that investors take decisions on the basis of predictability. Uncertainty militates against investment and job creation.

He said in it would be totally wrong to see the Government’s decision to appeal the Commission’s findings as a turning away from the European Union.

“While we disagree with the Commission’s decision it is important to underline that Ireland is a committed member of the EU. Our appeal is in defence of the European Union acting in a fair and predictable manner. This in not only in Ireland’s interest but in the interest of the European Union and all of its Member States.

“In doing so, we are taking urgently required remedial action in defence of and in support of our reputation, our economy and of wider business confidence,” he said.