Emmanuel Macron accused of using ‘Brexit hatred’ to twist Ireland’s arm in tax dispute
Expert says Brexit may risk rise of Northern Irish loyalist extremists
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The French president visited Ireland on his first visit to the country earlier this week. Discussions focused on Dublin’s refusal to sign up to a global 15 percent corporation tax rate.
This is being recommended by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as the core of a major new tax treaty.
Ireland’s ultra-low corporation tax rate, of 12.5 percent, has attracted many multi-national giants to base their headquarters in the country.
France, which has a 30 percent corporation tax rate, is a big supporter of the new treaty.
Paris fears the low corporation tax rate in Ireland is luring away American investment.
According to German publication Technik, Mr Macron planned to court the Irish by pointing out the hard-line he took on Britain during Brexit negotiations.
EU leaders refused to accept any hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Instead there is now a trade border down the Irish Sea, separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
This has infuriated unionists in the province, who argue it undermines British sovereignty.
Mr Macron held a working-lunch with Micheal Martin, the Irish prime minister, as part of his trip.
The two leaders discussed Brexit and Afghanistan, along with their dispute over corporation tax.
Speaking to Technik a French government insider said Ireland has “not closed the door completely” to the new global tax treaty.
They commented: “It will be the focus of our conversations on our way to Ireland to listen and to understand the difficulties.
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“Taoiseach [Irish prime minister] and the Treasury Department have signalled to us that they are ready to work on this and look into the details of the deal.
“Overall, there is talk of taxation in Irish business circles.”
However, speaking to Politico, an Irish government source said the country would continue defending its 12.5 percent tax rate.
They added: “We cannot prevent other jurisdictions from levying additional corporate taxes on profits above the Irish state rate of 12.5 percent.”
During his visit Mr Macron also toured Trinity College Dublin, the Guinness Foundation and met Irish president Michael Higgins.
In July G20 finance ministers approved a plan to create a minimum global corporation tax of 15 percent.
It has since been backed by more than 130 countries, including the UK.
French finance minister Bruno Le Maire described the move as a “victory”.
He added: “We are putting an end to tax optimisation and the digital giants will finally pay their fair share of tax. This is the biggest tax revolution in a century.”
US treasury secretary Janet Yellen commented: “The world is ready to end the global race to the bottom on corporate taxation.
“The world should now move quickly to finalise the deal.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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