Hands off our taxes! Irish MEP lashes out at Juncker – ‘This MUST be blocked’ | Politics | News – UK



Brian Hayes demanded comments made by Mr Juncker be “blocked” after he suggested scrapping unanimous voting on EU tax matters to majority voting, adding the Republic of Ireland would end up being “sidelined” by bigger member states.

He said: “Jean-Claude Juncker’s final State of the Union address to the European Parliament was full of ambition for a forward looking European Union.

“His comments on Brexit are very welcome to Ireland, particularly as we face into the dying stages of negotiation on the Withdrawal Agreement and we still have no solution on the border issue.

“However, President Juncker’s comments on changing the EU voting rules on tax matters in the European Council must be blocked at all costs.

“The European Council currently votes on tax matters by way of unanimity, thus allowing any country big or small to veto an EU tax proposal.

“Juncker’s suggestion of changing this to qualified majority voting would suit big Member States but would sideline small Member States like Ireland.”

The politician’s remarks came after an address he made at an EU summit this morning in Strasbourg, France.

He added: “The EU Treaties make it absolutely clear that tax decisions are taken by way of unanimous vote. The only way this can change is by further Treaty change but this is something that Ireland cannot go along with.”

Currently, the general rule in the European treaties is that EU Member States must agree tax proposals unanimously before they can be adopted.

Mr Hayes argued that because the Irish Republic will be a standalone member state without the support of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales the country could ind itself out on a limb in the event of majority voting.

He said: “President Juncker has clear views on the future direction of the European Union.

“Today he set them out as a challenge to MEPs. While I don’t agree with everything he said, particularly on tax issues, he wants to set the European Union on an ambitious path to become a leader on global affairs.”

In recent years, the bloc has been exposed in a handful of tax evasion sandals, most recently the Paradise Papers.

These were leaked to the press last year and featured details of the off-shore financial tax haven arrangements of people such as the Queen and Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary.

The leak compromises 13.4 million files measuring 1.4TB – the second largest-ever data leak after the Panama Papers.



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