It would ‘make sense’ for Ireland to adopt OECD proposals on corporation tax

The French president says he “is not putting pressure on his friends”, but that it would be “logical” for Ireland to adopt the OECD proposals on the standardization of corporate tax.

Emmanuel Macron hailed Ireland’s economic model but said that in the post-Covid world “things are different”.

He added that it would be “logical” for Ireland to end its resistance to the OECD corporation tax deal. Mr Macron was speaking during an official visit to the capital on Thursday.

The fact that Ireland was one of only nine holdouts to an OECD deal that would normalize corporate tax rates to ‘at least 15%’ meant Mr Macron was accompanied during his visit to Dublin by his Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who held a meeting with his Irish counterpart Paschal Donohoe. While Mr Donohoe is understood to have spelled out Ireland’s position to Mr Le Maire, on the steps of government buildings, Mr Macron said he was ‘not pressuring his friends’.

“It’s up to you to lead. It’s not for France to push. But I think the OECD framework works in the context,” Macron said:

It makes sense in terms of cooperation. This makes sense from an EU perspective. I think our fellow citizens no longer understand that when you are an SME you pay taxes. But when you’re a big business, you don’t pay taxes. I am confident, but I do not put pressure. I work with your Taoiseach.

Mr Macron said Ireland’s economic model in recent years was “unique”, but said in the post-Covid world people expect more from governments and that also means more from business.

President Michael D Higgins greets French President Emmanuel Macron as he visits Áras an Uachtaráin during his official visit to Ireland. Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Pool/AFP

“The situation is quite different. The post-Covid world is quite new,” he said. “I want to believe that we will find the right path together, in order to provide a common framework and to provide this minimum taxation, because I think that makes sense.”

Mr Macron said the French do not understand why big companies pay lower tax rates than large multinationals.

“Our fellow citizens can no longer understand that when you are an SME, you pay taxes but when you are a large digital group, you do not pay taxes. They want us to change the system,” he said.

“It’s up to you to lead and decide for yourselves, it’s not up to France to put pressure.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, however, said Ireland had reservations about the deal. Mr Martin, however, said Ireland would continue to engage before talks on the deal resume in October.

“There are significant challenges for us with respect to this process. But we have no doubt that we will engage constructively in the process, and there is still some way to go in this regard.

Mr Macron was on an official visit to Ireland before France took over the EU presidency in the first half of 2022, and his visit saw the signing of the Ireland-France Joint Action Plan, which commits to a program of cooperation across a wide range of policy areas, including education and research, as well as in promoting the French language here and Irish studies in France.

Leaders react to news of Kabul bombing

Ahead of the press conference, news leaked of the Kabul bombing, with the French president saying he was still unclear about the circumstances. However, Mr Macron said the US withdrawal from Afghanistan meant France could not protect the Afghan people.

No one expected such a quick and brutal situation in Kabul. President Biden confirmed to us during the G7 that he would leave the military airport and stop his operations with Afghanistan. I think that, de facto, we are all placed in a position where we cannot protect all the Afghans that we wanted to protect.

He said international coordination was needed to keep people safe in Kabul.

“We are facing a very tense situation, which leads us to coordinate with our American allies.

“We will also coordinate closely on the issues to be addressed in the near future, military cooperation, migration issues and cooperate with the UN Security Council, because in the days and weeks to come we will have to define the during the UN mandate.

“The next few hours will remain extremely dangerous in Kabul and around the airport.”

Mr Martin, meanwhile, said Ireland would be “generous in the number of refugees it takes in.

Ireland will be generous to refugees from Afghanistan. And we want to respond in a humanitarian and generous way, and we will.

“We also want to make sure that when refugees come to the country, they have a strong capacity here to create a good life for them. On top of that, we want to support the Afghan community already in Ireland. We are aware that they have extended family still in Afghanistan.

“We will therefore do everything in our power to respond in the right humanitarian way to a terrible humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan itself. Our emergency consular team has started the process of returning to Ireland and they have been assisting our citizens to come back.”

Higgins and Macron talk about European solidarity

Dublin was the 24th European capital Mr Macron has landed in, as he seeks to put France at the heart of a renewed EU in a post-Covid and post-Brexit world. On the latter, the French president said that France will not fail to support Ireland. He said France will fight to ensure compliance with the Northern Irish protocol and all other previous agreements.

President Michael D Higgins walking through Áras an Uachtaráin Park with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the President's Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bród and Misneach.  Picture: Maxwells
President Michael D Higgins walking through Áras an Uachtaráin Park with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the President’s Bernese Mountain Dogs, Bród and Misneach. Picture: Maxwells

“From the beginning, Europe has been united and united. It will remain united, there is no doubt. It is an existential question. To put it bluntly, we will never let you down.”

Mr Macron then drove to Trinity College with Mr Martin, passing a small handful of anti-vaccine protesters before meeting French businessmen at the Guinness Enterprise Center.

Speaking at the official dinner in Áras an Uachtarain on Thursday evening, President Michael D Higgins echoed Mr Macron’s statements throughout the day, calling for the “spirit of Europe” to be reinvigorated.

The European Union has a unique opportunity and bears the responsibility to affirm and, where appropriate, to reaffirm its founding values ​​of democracy, cohesion, shared perspectives, human rights and the rule of law in a increasingly interdependent world where these values ​​are contested.

“Such values ​​are neither abstract nor optional nor confined by boundaries.
“By offering a vision of the future of Europe and by cultivating what could constitute a ‘spirit of Europe’, we must reconnect with the streets and do so with authenticity and courage if we are to regain trust. We challenged to advance a critical debate on the future of European values.”

Luisa D. Fuller