The year 2016 hasn’t been good for the European Union (EU). Great Britain votes to leave. The EU and NATO are embroiled in a tense stand-off with Russia. Now they’re fighting with tech giant Apple. The EU orders Apple to pay billions to Ireland in taxes.
Apple is ordered to pay 13 billion Euros. That’s the equivalent to $14.5 billion. ?The EU courts ruled Apple conducted a scheme to route profits through Ireland. They ruled this scheme was illegal. Apple and Ireland plan to appeal the decision. One EU official says Ireland gave Apple illegal tax benefits. This enabled Apple to pay less taxes than other businesses, despite Apple being one of the richest companies in the world. For example, the 13 billion Euros is only 6% of the cash flow Apple has. Ireland’s Finance Minister Micheal Noonan plans to fight the EU’s allegations. This goes deeper than money. Noonan is fighting for the integrity of Ireland’s tax system. The EU accused Ireland of ‘reverse engineering’. This assured Ireland paid few taxes to guarantee employment. Apple employs 5,500 in Cork, Ireland, the nation’s third largest city. Apple is the second largest employer in Cork, next to government.
Ireland’s low income tax has lured businesses to Ireland for many years. It’s the reason why Ireland has one of the best economies in Europe. Even when other European nations are falling apart economically, politically, and socially, Ireland still thrives. This is why I question the European Union’s motives here. From what I read, Apple has done nothing but good for Ireland. They have provided good jobs, good income, and turned Cork into a prosperous, European Apple hub. What’s wrong with that? Hardly anybody in Ireland, from government officials to civilians, is complaining. Is the EU so strapped for cash they’re extorting companies for billions? And they wonder why nations want to succeed from the EU. Can’t they just let the nations rule? Does the EU really want justice? Or does the EU want to impose their will?