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FG warns of new taxes if EC wins veto on Budgets

FINE GAEL has warned that giving the European Commission a final veto over Irish Budgets could threaten our low corporation tax.

Richard Bruton, Fine Gael's finance spokesperson, said that his party is opposed to any such measure and that he was "astonished" that Brian Cowen and Brian Lenihan seem willing to "roll over and surrender crucial decision-making powers" to Brussels.

In a scathing attack on Fianna Fail, Bruton said: "Having first allowed Ireland's public finances to fall into a state of ruin, the Government is now on the point of ceding control over crucial financial decisions to other countries.

"This would be an extraordinary development. It seems to me that Fianna Fail has made such a botch of the economy that it's now happy for the European Commission to come in and clean up the mess."

Bruton claimed that the development left Ireland open to manipulation from major European states that are opposed to our corporation tax level of 12.5pc.

"But this proposal could leave Ireland open to manipulation by larger competitor states on areas like our low corporation tax rate," he said.

"Brian Cowen barely addressed this matter when it was raised by Enda Kenny in the Dail today.

"Yet such a proposal could see the EU imposing new taxes, such as a property tax, or even forcing through further public sector wage cuts.

"Fianna Fail has consistently refused to allow the Dail to have proper scrutiny of the Irish Budget.

"The catastrophic consequences of this Government's undemocratic approach are obvious in the dismal state of the public finances.

"I agree that co-ordination and consultation with our colleagues in the eurozone is essential for recovery.

"However, ceding democratic control over the Irish finances to the European Commission and other countries, each of which has their own agenda, is not an option."

Member states across the EU have had to take drastic budgetary measures to take back control of their debt situation.

European Central Bank governing council member Nout Wellink has suggested that European countries should have access to European Union structural funds blocked if they break budget rules and fines should be considered for excessive deficits.