Obsession with Irish tax laws remains a mystery
Given the myriad of crises facing the EU, its fixation with Ireland's tax laws - over which it had no jurisdiction - is something of a mystery.
Yesterday, the European Commission published a detailed report on a controversial ruling that Apple must pay €13bn in tax in Ireland.
It argued that the Irish Revenue Commissioners somehow facilitated the company's avoidance of tax, insisting that the agreement this country had with Apple constituted State aid. But the "arm's-length" legislation introduced by the EU that might have stopped such a deal, did not come into being until 2010 - this was long after the Apple deal. So to attempt to sanction Ireland retrospectively is ridiculously unjust.
The Government is appealing the tax ruling in the European Court of Justice. There has been a suspicion that the EU has been moving relentlessly towards singling this country out for its remarkable success in attracting foreign multi-nationals to these shores. There are compelling arguments for reform of the laws and the tightening of international loopholes that enable companies to escape their full responsibilities. But, to lay the blame on the Irish government for the failure of other countries to make sure their tax regimes are not porous, amounts to a flagrant over-reach on the part of the Commission.