Monday 5 December 2016

Europe's probe into Apple is politically motivated - Noonan

Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan

Europe's probe into the tax arrangements between Apple and Ireland is more political than legally motivated, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has told MEPs.

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The European Parliament's Special Committee on Tax visited Dublin earlier this year and met with a range of government and civil representatives.

In a draft report of its visit, the Committee recounted that in its meeting with the minister, Mr Noonan pointed out that the legal reasoning behind the Apple case "is probably weak".

The Committee said one of the messages from the minister was that "Ireland considers the case more political than legally motivated".

Brussels has accused Ireland of striking a tax arrangement with Apple that was based on keeping jobs here but which gave the company an advantage that amounted to state aid and went against international guidelines. Mr Noonan has said the European Commission is not expected to make a decision on Apple's tax affairs until after Christmas.

Fine Gael MEPs yesterday said it had voted against the report in the European Parliament. In a joint statement, the politicians said the European Parliament was "meddling in sovereign tax matters".

"Therefore, Fine Gael MEPs regretfully could not support the adoption of the final report. Taxation is a national competence and this is clearly not respected in the report," they said.

"Furthermore, the Irish people were given firm commitments in voting for a number of EU referenda that tax policy would remain a national competence."

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