Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher has said that he will defend Ireland’s corporate tax rate in Brussels, after a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, the nominee for European Commission president.
He met Von der Leyen, the German defence minister, alongside colleagues from the liberal-centrist Renew Europe group, yesterday, as Von der Leyen rallies votes in the European Parliament for her appointment to be approved.
However, Mr Kelleher said that he was unhappy that she failed to give any position on Ireland’s corporate tax rate or assure that it will be respected.
“Ireland’s competitive tax rate is the cornerstone of our industrial tax system and has to be protected in the future,” he said.
“Member states like Ireland must continue to have the right, as sovereign nations, to determine their own tax policy.
“It is simply unacceptable that the candidate for the top job in the European Commission — the role that will shape the direction of policy in the EU for the next five years — was not prepared to answer this question.”
The Ireland South MEP also called on the future European Commission president to take more action to address the gross inequalities for Irish consumers in soaring interest rates and the failure of the internal market to address high insurance costs.
“I welcome the commitments, given by Mrs Von der Leyen, to complete and strengthen the Capital Markets Union, but for Irish consumers, currently facing sky-high interest rates and spiralling insurance premiums, this is a very theoretical response,” he said.
“I will be pushing for more concrete measures from the European Commission to address these inequalities and to ensure that Irish citizens get the full benefit of the single market, when it comes to access to credit and competitiveness issues.”