Tax harmonisation is on the agenda of EU Commission, the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament
Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald speaking in advance of José Manuel Barroso. European Commission President, address to the National Forum on Europe said ‘”No matter how damaging this issue is for the Irish government the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barosso cannot rule out harmonising corporate tax across the EU. The fact is that tax harmonisation is on the agenda of the European Commission, the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The government and senior EU officials need to stop trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the Irish people and state honestly EU intentions on corporation tax.”
Ms. McDonald said:
“Over the last number of days there has been growing controversy about the possible introduction of a common consolidated tax base for the EU and attempts by the Irish government and EU officials to bury the issue until after the Irish referendum.
“But the fact is no matter how damaging this issue is for the Irish government the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barosso cannot rule out harmonising corporate tax across the EU. The fact is that tax harmonisation is on the agenda of European Commission, the European Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
“The EU Commission has repeatedly and explicitly stated that it wishes to create a common consolidated tax base for the EU. They have drafted proposals for introducing a Common EU Tax Base for company taxes, but postponed publication for the time being. And Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan admitted last night that he had asked that the report not be published during the referendum.
“Last week French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde outlined that when the French take over Presidency of the European Council later this year they intend to press ahead with plans to create a Common Corporate Tax Base.
“And tax harmonisation has been repeatedly endorsed by the European Parliament including MEPs from Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
“The government claims that our veto will block measures from the EU to control our corporation tax policy but as it stands Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty will permit the European Council to move from unanimity to qualified majority voting in key areas including company taxation. This means that the Irish people will be reliant on every future Taoiseach to say NO.
“Given the political timidity that they have demonstrated, the government is not convincing when they claim that they will defend Ireland interests on this matter irrespective of the political wishes of our EU partners. It is worth noting that the Irish government wanted to keep a permanent Irish commissioner during the talks on the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution, but they gave in. Is there any reason for thinking they would not do the same on the key matter of company taxes once these powers had been passed to the European Council by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty.
“The government seriously mishandled the Lisbon Treaty negotiations. It is my view that decisions regarding taxation are 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