Positive European Court decision should curtail EU Commission posturing on State Aid - Dr Brian Keegan

Jul 15, 2020

Today's decision by the General Court of the European Union in the already protracted Apple case recognises commercial realities and principles of fairness over legal technicalities.

An initial reading of the decision suggests that the Court did not accept the Commission’s contention that the administrative decisions in the Apple Case were flawed. The Commission had not challenged Ireland's tax laws but rather how they were applied. The outcome vindicates Ireland’s adherence, not just to Irish but also to European rules when levying taxation.

While the amounts of money involved are vast and the additional tax estimated at some €13bn would be welcome particularly now as we struggle to pay for the cost of the pandemic, it would have been wrong to claim money that is not rightfully ours, and  the Court has established that this is the case.

The Apple case taken by the Commission is one of a number of cases opened in in recent years concerning the granting of State Aid using the tax system by Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands as well as Ireland. The Commission has not been successful in every instance.  

It is to be hoped that the Commission will accept the decision of the General Court of the European Union, and not seek to damage the country’s reputation further with protracted legal proceedings.