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Vestager’s decision to appeal EU court ruling: Apple case demonstrates need for EU tax rules


25 Sep 2020



Reacting to the decision by competition Commissioner Vestager to appeal the July EU General Court ruling annulling her 2016 decision ordering Ireland to recover €13 billion in state aid paid to Apple, Pedro Marques, S&D spokesperson on tax matters, said:

“We applaud Vestager for her willingness to push for more fairness in corporate taxation. We hope she will win the appeal and Apple will be forced to pay back €13 billion of illegitimate state aid to the Irish people.

“Yet, the blow of the July EU court ruling and the uncertainty of winning the appeal clearly demonstrate the need for European rules to tackle unfair tax competition. This is why we call on the EU to be prepared to implement both a digital tax and a minimum effective tax rate of 18%, should the negotiations within the realm of the OECD fail. It is time to bring our tax rules up to speed and adapt the tax burden to the new realities. Digital giants and big multinationals must pay their fair share, just as everyone else.”

Jonás Fernandez, S&D spokesperson on economic and monetary affairs, said:

“In 2014, Apple only paid 0,005% of corporate taxes in Ireland. That is a far cry from paying their fair share. In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, our citizens tolerate tax-ditching companies even less than before, and rightly so. State aid rules are needed more than ever to ensure fair tax rules are applied throughout the EU, but they cannot be the ultimate solution.

“We support Commissioner Gentiloni’s plan to pressure member states to root out the structures that facilitate aggressive tax planning under the Recovery Fund by using article 116. We expect the same commitment to ensure a level playing field from all EU Commissioners. Even if not directly under her designate portfolio responsibility, at the hearing next Friday we would like to understand Mairead McGuinness’ views on the fight on unfair tax competition and on her commitment as Commissioner-designate to promote tax justice at all times.”

Note to editors:

You can find our policy priorities for taxation here. More details on our position can also be found on our dedicated site.