The Government has downplayed the possibility of a fresh attack on Ireland’s corporate tax rate following the election of Emmanuel Macron in France.
Ahead of the elections, the French president-elect said the gap in tax rates across the EU would have to be tackled and explicitly mentioned Ireland.
“As for Ireland, we do know today that that’s the bias for a lot of corporations, that it’s bias for a lot of sectors and especially the digital sectors,” Mr Macron told RTÉ news recently.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan insisted our 12.5% corporate tax rate would not change, saying there was “nothing new” in Mr Macron’s comments.
“This is a challenge, one of the many challenges that European countries have in terms of the relationship with each other, this is nothing new,” he said.
“We have heard this from Jacques Chirac, we have heard it more recently from Sarkozy, indeed we have heard it more recently from President Hollande.
"Our position is quite clear; we set our own tax rules and we set our own corporate tax rates. That has been the position under the current Government, it’s our policy.
“We will continue to set our own tax rates here and we will continue to ensure that we have what’s been described as a competitive if favourable tax rate.”
President Michael D Higgins was among the political leaders who congratulated Mr Macron on his victory.
He said Mr Macron’s many references to the need for renewal of European purpose, based on European values and a commitment that his presidency “will engage not only with French but European and global matters, will be welcomed by all those seeking a positive discourse on contemporary issues, which are perceived as threats by many”.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny also congratulated Mr Macron and said he is delighted that a leader with a positive ambition for Europe has won this election decisively.
He said the “outstanding result” — which saw Mr Macron get around 65% share of the votes against to his far-right rival Marine Le Pen’s 35% — is a “strong signal” of confidence in the future of the EU.
“There’s lots of work ahead for all of us in Europe, in a challenging environment, not least on Brexit,” said Mr Kenny.
“I am confident that, under Emmanuel Macron’s leadership, France will continue to play an important role in the EU.”
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he is looking forward to working with him on issues of mutual concern to Ireland and France.
He said: “President-elect Macron’s victory is not only a victory for him, and his movement, but also a victory for the values that Ireland and France share: openness, tolerance and reason.
“His message of inclusion, diversity and respect, allied to his progressive radical economic platform saw him secure victory in an election that caught the imagination of people right across Europe.
“The European Union faces many challenges in the years ahead. I am heartened that in this election, and in recent elections in the Netherlands and Austria, the progressive centre has held.”
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