News: European Commission President urges G20 leaders to cooperate on tax avoidance.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has hit back at criticisms of the EU’s tax ruling on Apple, saying that this was not a decision “against the United States.”
Sounding a defiant note ahead of the Group of 20 summit, Juncker told reporters that the decisions had been based on “facts and on the legislation”, saying that it would be “absurd” to use taxation as a means to attack the US, according to AFP.
Juncker said in a speech at the summit that the state aid rules resulting in the “landmark ruling” were applied “without discrimination and without bias”.
He urged fellow delegates at the conference to work together to build a fair and efficient corporate taxation system.
Ireland was instructed by the European Commission to recover up to €13bn of alleged state aid from the company over a ten year period.
EU state aid rules prohibit member states from providing impermissible aid to companies, which includes in the form of improper tax benefits.
The remarks from Juncker come as the United States, Apple and the Irish government have all strongly attacked the ruling.
On 2 September, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Irish National Broadcaster RTE that the finding was “wrong-headed” and that the decision was “maddening.” He said that he was very confident that the “unjust ruling” would be overturned.
Mr Cook told RTE that the Commission's claim that "Ireland's selective treatment of Apple allowed the company to pay an effective tax rate of 0.005 percent on its European profits in 2014" was an untrue figure and that the company paid "a worldwide income tax rate" of 26.1 percent that year.
A US Treasury spokesperson previously told Bloomberg in a statement: 'We believe that retroactive tax assessments by the commission are unfair, contrary to well-established legal principles, and call into question the tax rules of individual Member States.
'The commission's actions could threaten to undermine foreign investment, the business climate in Europe, and the important spirit of economic partnership between the US and the EU.'