€13bn Apple tax ruling must be repaid, says Juncker

EU president Jean Claude Juncker has warned Ireland and Apple that the €13bn tax ruling against the tech giant is based on “facts” and must be followed.

The head of the EU made the comments at the G20 summit in China in the first firm response from the bloc to the Government’s decision to appeal the judgement.

In a speech to the meeting of world leaders including US president Barack Obama, British prime minister Theresa May, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and others, Mr Juncker moved to quell fears of an economic standoff over the ruling.

He said that, despite claims that the tax issue is part of a wider battle between the EU and US, it is incorrect to believe the ruling is “a decision against the US” as “it would be absurd to choose this territory of state taxation” as the area to attack.

However, addressing ongoing criticism of the ruling from Ireland, the US, and Apple, whose CEO Tim Cook described the decision as “political crap”, Mr Juncker said the bill must be paid, as the judgement is based “on facts and the legislation”.

The comments were made after Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan launched an attack on the European Commission ruling on Friday, claiming member states are attempting to bully Ireland into changing its lucrative 12.5% corporation tax rate.

The Dáil will reconvene on Wednesday to vote on the Government’s plan to appeal the ruling, which was only agreed on condition that a full review of multinationals’ tax bills takes place within six months.

The Irish Examiner has learnt, however, that a similar 2013 cross-party review refused to allow multinationals to be questioned amid claims it was “paralysed by fear”.

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