Tuesday 26 September 2017

'We won't be alone in fight to resist EU tax changes,' says Donohoe

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the state of the European Union in Strasbourg Picture: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addresses the European Parliament during a debate on the state of the European Union in Strasbourg Picture: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has pledged to resist any attempts to impose a shake-up of European tax rules that would standardise the way corporation tax is calculated.

Mr Donohoe said Ireland would continue to insist on a veto for any proposed changes in tax at European level.

It comes after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (below) said he wanted the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) plan pushed through without requiring the agreement of all member states and wanted it implemented via qualified majority voting rather than unanimous agreement.

But Mr Donohoe said the Government would not back any move that changed its ability to protect the national interest. "Our position is clear, and let me be very explicit it about this, I and this Government will not participate in any decision that changes our ability to protect our national interest in key issues like that.

"The need for unanimity, in other words for all countries to agree to changes in common taxation approaches, is a core issue of how the EU manages issues like this," he said.

"It is a process that I have seen used many times. Ireland won't change that and I know that we will be joined by many countries that have the same view."

The Government here is opposed to the CCCTB plan, amid concerns it would undermine the competitiveness of the 12.5pc corporate tax rate. Mr Donohoe said that position had not changed.

"Yes, it is a big risk that is out there, but the position that this Government and previous governments have held in relation to corporation tax, in relation to a common consolidated tax base, we will continue to hold," Mr Donohoe told RTÉ Radio.

His Cabinet colleague Richard Bruton added: "We must, as a small, open economy, provide certainty for companies in this country. The stability of corporate tax was held strong to when it was coming under pressure from many quarters at a time when Ireland was on its knees financially. We had to protect that."

Progress

Meanwhile, the Government has expressed fears that achieving sufficient progress in the Brexit talks by October won't be possible.

European Affairs Minister Helen McEntee said making decent progress was about building confidence.

"We are worried that, despite the best efforts of Michel Barnier and his team, it is looking increasingly likely that it will not be possible to declare sufficient progress by next month's meeting," Ms McEntee told a conference marking the inaugural event of DCU's Brexit Institute.

"There is still time to make more progress but that depends entirely on the UK and its willingness to negotiate in earnest and engage constructively across all the exit issues in the time available."

Irish Independent

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