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No Way José

17 April, 2008

Following an address today by EU Commissioner José Barroso at a National Forum on Europe plenary session Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald challenged Mr. Barroso on his claims regarding a harmonised corporate tax base for Europe.


Speaking at the plenary session the MEP said:


“Mr. Barroso’s claim that the progression of a harmonised corporate tax base is not on the cards for EU member states simply does not tally with the facts.


“The Commissioner with responsibility for tax, Laszlo Kovacs, has already committed to publishing a legislative proposal for a common tax base for Europe in September of this year. Cynically the original publication date has been postponed until after the Irish referendum.


“The fact is tax harmonisation is an objective of the EU Commission, Council of Ministers and Parliament and no amount of public hang wring and denials by Mr. Barroso will alter this fact.


“The cover up tactics being employed by EU institutions in advance of the Lisbon Treaty referendum at the behest of the Irish government is deeply worrying. The Commission has pulled the harmonisation tax objective for the time being at the request of Charlie McCreevy. The European Parliamentary Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs has delayed a report endorsing CCCTB in response to Fianna Fáil MEP Eoin Ryan’s pleas. A controversial cross border health directive due to be published earlier this year has been postponed until June, no doubt after the 12th. The powerful EU Constitutional Committee has written to Chairpersons of all Committees requesting that sensitive documents regarding the Treaty be held until after the referendum. And this week we had the revelations in the media that the Commission has reassured the Irish department of Foreign Affairs that they were playing a ‘helpful, low profile role’ by ‘toning down or delaying messages that might be unhelpful’ to the governments campaign for a yes vote.


“They are deliberately hiding this information from the Irish electorate because they know a Yes Vote will ensure that member states will no longer have the same control to determine their own taxation rates.


“Ireland standing in Europe will not be damaged by a No Vote as Mr. Barroso has threatened today but by the governments under hand cover up tactics that are now being widely reported across the Irish and European media. They simply cannot continue to bury information and stymie debate.


“The Irish people will not be mislead or act as a rubber stamp to EU institutional objectives that will damage Ireland’s national interests. I believe the Irish people will, to coin a phrase, decide - No Way José.” ENDS


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