European Council president Donald Tusk has declined to comment on the “tremendous” debate surrounding the €13bn Apple tax ruling, saying a imminent court battle means the controversy must now be resolved within the legal system.
Speaking alongside Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a State visit to Ireland yesterday, the senior EU figure said he is now precluded from expressing a view publicly despite the seriousness of the issue involved.
During a pre-scripted public engagement at Government Buildings, the former Polish prime minister acknowledged that both he and Mr Kenny had spoken about the matter before meeting privately to discuss issues including the consequences to Ireland of the recent Brexit vote and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.
However, he added that he cannot comment on the matter at this stage due to the fact the Irish Government is appealing the €13bn ruling.
“I know there has been a tremendous debate over the European Commission decision in the Apple case. The Taoiseach has explained to me the reasons why the Irish Government wants to take the issue to court. I will not comment on this case because this will now be up to the court,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Mr Kenny said he “wants to make it clear” that he raised the issue with Mr Tusk and “explained to him the reasons” for Ireland’s decision to appeal.
He said as the issue “is not a matter within the European Council” it was not discussed further between the senior politicians.
Meanwhile, both Mr Kenny and Mr Tusk have insisted Brexit will not be discussed in depth by the EU member states until Britain “triggers” article 50 and formally asks to leave.
While the Taoiseach stressed he raised concerns about a border being erected “from Derry to Dundalk”, Mr Tusk said Europe wants to make sure Ireland does not suffer “from a decision you did not make”.
Describing Mr Kenny as a “symbol” of “effective crisis management”, he added: “Without Ireland’s sacrifice the European Union would be in a worse situation now, and we know it.”
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