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EU Commission determined to push ahead with common corporate tax plan - McDonald

8 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has described plans by the French Government to press ahead with the attempts to create a common corporate tax base as "deeply worrying". Ms. McDonald also described the Irish governments response as "inadequate."

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The Irish government has known for several years now that the EU Commission was determined to push ahead with plans to create a Common Corporate Tax Base. Recently politicians from the government and opposition have said that there were no plans afoot within the EU to press ahead with this matter. However today's statements from the French government clearly indicate that this is not the case. This is deeply worrying.

"EU leaders have made it clear that they want to move ahead in a process that will lead to greater tax harmonisation. Sinn Féin believes that the Lisbon Treaty will help them considerably. It is well known that the EU Commission has drafted proposals for introducing a Common EU Tax Base for company taxes, and had postponed its publication until after the Irish referendum.

"Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty allows the European Council to move to qualified majority voting in key areas including taxation. In other words, Ireland would lose its veto on taxation matters. Proponents of the treaty point to the fact that unanimity is required on taxation matters. What they fail to point up is that for the very first time a mechanism to remove that very veto is also contained in the treaty.

"The Irish people will now have to trust every future Taoiseach to hold the line on this issue. And given that the government gave in to EU leaders and agreed to the loss of a permanent EU Commissioner I wouldn't have much confidence. The fact that MEPs from Fine Gael and the Labour Party, have backed reports in the European Parliament supporting tax harmonisation make the situation even more worrying.

"It is disappointing that instead of taking on this issue to protect Ireland's national interest the government has been trying to hide the truth.

"It is my firm belief that issues of taxation is properly a matter for this state to decide. The government ought to have ensured that issues such as taxation were exempt from the application of Article 48. They failed to do this. This could be properly addressed in a new Treaty." ENDS

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