Monday 19 February 2018

Apple ruling leaves us at great risk of isolation

Ireland finds itself increasingly isolated over the appeal of the Apple tax ruling Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images
Ireland finds itself increasingly isolated over the appeal of the Apple tax ruling Stock photo: AFP/Getty Images

Michael Noonan is probably not used to being received at the EU table like a side dish that has not been ordered. It may be too early for frost, but there was definitely an autumnal chill in the air as the two-day finance ministers' meeting in Bratislava began. Ireland finds itself increasingly isolated over the appeal of the Apple tax ruling.

In the eyes of the EU tax czar Pierre Moscovici, it was a "strange decision", while Austria's finance minister, Hans Jörg Schelling, felt he would take the money, given the chance. Mr Schelling even said that the Austrian government is examining "intensively" whether some of the cash is owed to Austria. Italy, France, and Spain are apparently doing the same. This makes a nonsense of claims that a €13bn golden carrot was ours for the taking.

But Mr Noonan was always going to find himself on the back foot. France and Germany threw their support behind the Commission last week. Both countries have long had their eyes on Ireland's 12.5pc tax rate. They have two of the highest corporation tax rates with 30.2pc and 34.4pc respectively; although companies in France were found to be only paying a tax on profits of 7.4pc.

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