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Common Corporate Tax Base firmly back on the EU Commission’s agenda – McDonald

10 September, 2010

Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald has described the government’s response to the EU’s plan to push ahead with a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) for Europe as nothing more than “political posturing.”

“Anticipating some member states grandstanding EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Semeta has already stated if member states do not sign up a CCCTB he is prepared to force the issue by using an enhanced co-operation procedure threatening to place Ireland outside the European circle. Advocates of a CCCTB have also tried to fudge opponents concerns by arguing that it is the formula for calculating the tax rate and not the rate itself that will be consolidated. Either way it means Ireland will lose its ability to set it’s own corporate tax rate.

“The Commission has been working on the introduction of a CCCTB for Europe since 2001 and as the EU has to varying degrees already consolidated economic, social and monetary policies taxation is simply the next step. And that is one of the main reasons Sinn Féin argued against giving the EU further powers during both Lisbon Treaty referendums.

“The government’s reaction to the EU Commissions announcement has been trite, as has Fine Gael and Labour’s. It is particularly irksome considering the reactions from political leaders when this issue was raised during the Lisbon Treaty debates. Labour Leader Eamon Gilmore went so far as to call the French Economics Minister patronising and arrogant when she publicly stated she planned to progress the matter during France’s EU Presidency in 2008. Of course such troublesome plans were temporarily shelved when the Irish electorate rejected the first Lisbon Treaty referendum.

“When I raised this very matter at an EU Affairs Oireachtas Committee meeting I was told point blank by all other political parties in the Dáil that a common corporate tax base in Europe would never happen. Yet here we are.

“ECB Chief Jean-Claude Trichet has now proposed that member states who break public finance rules should be temporarily excluded from political decision-making. After putting together a 750 billion euro emergency bail out fund in May of this year the ECB is perhaps understandably playing hardball. Whilst such measures would be difficult to enforce his comments are deeply worrying.

“The country is broke, tens of billions of taxpayer’s monies are being wasted in Anglo and the ECB is the only taker when it comes to Irish bonds. Tax consolidation is on the Commission’s agenda and thanks to the government’s horrific management of our public finances they with the support of the Fine Gael and Labour have now created the perfect storm for its implementation.” ENDS

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