Sunday 4 December 2016

Newsmaker: Pierre Moscovici

Published 01/06/2015 | 02:30

Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs

Pierre Moscovici paid a whirlwind visit to Dublin last week, where he gave a speech at an event organised by the Institute of International and European Affairs, addressed the Oireachtas Finance Committee on the recent Country Specific Recommendations for Ireland, and met with both Tánaiste Joan Burton and Finance Minister Michael Noonan.

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It was a day trip packed with engagements. When the Irish Independent met him shortly after he arrived, he looked understandably weary after an early morning flight.

But being Economics Commissioner for Europe brings with it a packed schedule. Tuesday was Dublin. Wednesday was Dresden in eastern Germany, for the G7.

Mr Moscovici's activities will be of interest to Ireland over the coming months, particularly in the area of taxation.

He is bringing forward a tax action plan which will include revised proposals on a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB).

The CCCTB proposal was heavily debated a number of years ago and was intended to provide a single set of rules that companies operating within the EU could use to calculate their taxable profits.

Ireland wasn't a fan. Mr Moscovici has urged Ireland to retain an open mind.

The former French Finance Minister has only been in the role since last autumn. Paris had been pushing Moscovici, a Keynesian Socialist dropped from President Francois Hollande's government in a reshuffle in April 2014, for the key role.

The push was part of its campaign, along with Italy, for a greater emphasis on promoting growth and more flexibility in reducing deficits. During his nomination process, he struggled to convince MEPs that he could enforce budget rules that his own country has repeatedly breached.

He faced a barrage of scepticism from conservative politicians who asked how he could credibly recommend reforms and cuts to ministers that he had not implemented himself in Paris.

Since his appointment, he has been at the centre of negotiations involving Greece, and efforts to secure a debt deal.

He has stressed the need for a debt deal, saying in Dublin last week that a Greek exit from the euro would damage the nature of the single currency.

Born in 1957, Mr Moscovici holds an advanced degree in economics, and is a graduate of the Institut des Sciences Politiques (Paris) and of the Ecole nationaled'administration.

He was an MEP between 1994 and 1997, and again between 2004 and 2007. He was most recently Minister for the Economy and Finance from 2012 to 2014.

Irish Independent

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