European Commission to fight Ireland in Apple tax appeal case

The European Commission will fight its case in a court appeal taken by Ireland against the €13bn Apple ruling.

Pierre Moscovici, the economic, financial affairs, and taxation commissioner, said it does not have the same view as Ireland and would be making the case for the “ordinary people, people who have been pressurised during the crisis” in any appeal.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has faced opposition to the Government’s decision to appeal the ruling that Apple must pay the State €13bn in back-tax.

The ruling was high on the agenda at an Ecofin meeting, when European finance ministers came together for discussions in Bratislava over the weekend.

Mr Moscovici yesterday defended the ruling, saying it was “in the general interest of people, ordinary people, people who have been pressurised during the crisis, paid a lot of their money” and who now don’t understand how multinationals were allowed to take advantage of specific tax regimes or agreements in some countries.

“It’s fighting tax evasion, it’s fighting tax fraud, it’s acting for the ordinary people in France, the Netherlands, in Germany, in Ireland who cannot stand that they pay their taxes and that multinationals don’t pay their fair share of taxes.”

Speaking to RTÉ’s This Week radio programme, Mr Moscovici said: “We had a debate here and Michael Noonan intervened in the Ecofin saying that he is going, of course, to defend the Irish case in front of the court. We, of course, won’t have the same position.

“But he is going to go on co-operating with the EU with the commission and with the framework of our common initiatives.”

Mr Moscovici also made the argument for a more open tax regime among member states and voiced support for increased tax harmonisation across Europe, an issue which was discussed over the weekend.

Ireland would be likely to oppose any further harmonisation of tax, but Mr Moscovici added: “I hope that the attitude of the Irish Government will be co-operative. I had a chance to discuss that with Michael Noonan and I trust it will be.”

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'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

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