The Commission ruling against Apple is game-changing and leaves the company facing a bill of EUR 13 billion in payment of back taxes because of illegal competitive advantages.
But it is not the group’s fault. It is the fault of the Irish government which grants these tax benefits. It is entirely understandable that Apple and many others snap at the chance. And what is happening to the Irish government now? It is getting 13 billion back in unpaid taxes.
This system of tax competition among the 28 governments is sick. It is a system with adverse effects for the European welfare states and for all the companies which do not (and cannot) play such tricks. The Commission is doing what it can in investigating and censuring the worst cases of excess. Commissioner Vestager is doing a good job. But it’s not enough.
The transfer of fiscal powers to the Union would be necessary and is currently pragmatic but illusory. But a situation of cooperation instead of competition among the governments must be achievable. It would take some political pressure.