Fine Gael MEPs have today voted against a final report produced by the European Parliament’s Special Tax Committee.
“It is absolutely right that all corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. Member States must ensure that taxes are paid in the country where economic activity takes place. That happens in Ireland and it should happen across the EU.
“While there are some positive aspects in this report, overall we believe that the Parliament is meddling in sovereign tax matters. Therefore, Fine Gael MEPs regretfully could not support the adoption of the final report. Taxation is a national competence and this is clearly not respected in the report. Furthermore, the Irish people were given firm commitments in voting for a number of EU referenda that tax policy would remain a national competence. The Commission and Parliament need to respect the decision of the Irish people.
“While the report recognises that setting of corporate tax rates is a matter for Member States, it also calls for tax consolidation through the CCCTB. The EU Treaties make it clear that corporate tax rates are not a Community competence, it is solely for Member States to decide.
“The report makes several prejudicial comments on the Commission’s ongoing State Aid investigations, including the case of Apple in Ireland. It is completely inappropriate for the Parliament to make judgements on cases that are currently ongoing and we need to allow the Commission to complete its work without interference.
“In recent years, the OECD has led the way in the BEPS project to ensure that profits are not shifted to tax havens. Ireland is fully engaged in this process. The Parliament’s tax report diminishes the work of the OECD and says that the EU must go further than the BEPS project. We cannot have a two-speed approach and we must ensure that all OECD countries act jointly on implementing the BEPS guidelines.
“Ireland has a transparent and clear corporate tax regime. We’ve made several changes in recent years. From getting rid of the double Irish and from introducing new rules on residency, Ireland has nothing to apologise for. Tax competition is important for Europe. We need to keep Foreign Direct Investment in Europe and Member States competing against each other, without it becoming a race to the bottom, is crucially important for a competitive Europe.”