Stiglitz: Ireland not a good EU citizen over tax rates

Stiglitz: Ireland not a good EU citizen over tax rates

Ireland’s tax policies have come in for stinging criticism at the hands of Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

Speaking at a press conference in Paris yesterday, the University of Columbia professor accused Ireland of being a bad neighbour when it comes to the country’s favourable tax rates for multinational companies.

His comments come as the court case surrounding Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland rumbles on in Europe.

“In the area of taxes, Ireland has not behaved well, either globally or for their own citizens, or as an EU citizen,” Prof Stiglitz said.

“It is not a good citizen to try to rob your neighbour. And what Ireland did is it tried to get revenue that would have gone to other European countries to be relocated into Ireland, to take a pittance out of that [in tax] and to do a deal where Apple is perfectly happy because they get their taxes reduced.

“And who pays? The rest of Europe is paying. You don’t do that to your neighbours, to your partners in the EU. I view Ireland not only as a tax haven; it is not a good citizen of the EU.”

Prof Stiglitz said he was “a little shocked” when Ireland opted to fight the European Commission’s decision that Apple should pay €13bn in taxes.

“The country needed the money. The view that that would hurt Ireland’s reputation was totally wrong. Unless Ireland wanted to have a reputation as a confirmed tax haven. But if it wanted to say we’re going to play by European rules and we are going to be a normal economy, it actually made no sense to turn down that money.”

He said that the argument that Ireland’s position as a hub for multinationals would suffer if the tax was paid is “bogus”, adding that “industry gets located where there are well-educated people, good infrastructure . . . countries like Japan and Korea attracted industries, educated their citizens and there’s no reason why Ireland couldn’t do the same.”

In 2016, the European Commission said that Apple must pay €13bn in back taxes to Ireland but both Apple and the Irish Government are challenging this.

decision.

The European Commission has claimed that Ireland gave Apple an unfair advantage through a favourable tax arrangement, though lawyers for the Irish Government have argued that the commission had failed to show that Apple had received any advantage.

It is expected the court will rule on the Apple case in the coming months but if the losing party appeals the decision to the EU Court of Justice, a final judgement could take several years.

More on this topic

Government backs Apple: Appeal is not in long-term best interestGovernment backs Apple: Appeal is not in long-term best interest

'No doubt' many countries would claim part of Apple's €14bn in back taxes, says Donohoe     'No doubt' many countries would claim part of Apple's €14bn in back taxes, says Donohoe

Apple's Irish state aid tax bill paid in full to GovernmentApple's Irish state aid tax bill paid in full to Government

State receives first repayment from AppleState receives first repayment from Apple


More in this Section

Fatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker saysFatal assault of homeless man in Cork: ‘More will die on our streets’, charity worker says

Man due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin parkMan due in court in relation to a loaded gun found in Dublin park

Homeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton JohnHomeless man, 53, murdered in Cork city was a 'talented chef' who served Elton John

Katherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusalsKatherine Zappone aware of distress at Tusla refusals


Lifestyle

Helen O’Callaghan says we are the least strict in all of Europe.Praise over punishment: Irish parents least strict in Europe - study

Kya deLongchamps detects a hint of rebellion behind the ritual of afternoon tea.Vintage View: English tradition of afternoon tea won't exit with Brexit

Friends and Young Offenders actors Shane Casey and Dominic MacHale speak to Pat Fitzpatrick about struggling to make it but why they are not seeking out fame.‘I was down to a euro’ - The Young Offenders actors tell of struggle to make it in acting

Gerry Fitzgerald runs Bandon Books Plus in Riverview Shopping Centre, Bandon, Co Cork.We Sell Books: Turning over a new leaf from bank to bookshop in Bandon

More From The Irish Examiner