€13bn tax demand is unjustified - Donohoe
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the European Commission's demand that Dublin collect up to €13bn in back taxes from Apple was unjustified, in an interview with Germany's 'Frankfurter Allgemeine' (FAZ) newspaper.
The commission ordered Apple to repay taxes to Ireland after ruling last year the technology giant paid so little tax on its Ireland-based operations that it amounted to state aid.
In the interview, extracts from which the FAZ published yesterday, Mr Donohoe said the tax rules from which Apple benefited had been available to all and were not tailored for the California firm. They did not violate European or Irish law, he added.
The Irish Government has said it will collect the money pending an appeal of the ruling by Apple, but Mr Donohoe said it was not Dublin's job and the request was not justified.
"We are not the global tax collector for everybody else," FAZ quoted him as saying.
The money is currently being deposited in escrow.
Mr Donohoe also distanced himself from French and German proposals that the EU do more to prevent Chinese investors from buying strategically important European companies, saying this would endanger Europe's reputation for openness.
"We must be very careful not to endanger our reputation as advocates for free trade," he said.