I wrote about my concerns regarding Apple’s planning permission and the delays therein just a few short yours ago and it seems I was not the only one worried about this.
“Planning laws could be loosened after delays put Apple project at risk,” says the headline in this morning’s Indo and it appears Varadkar has taken an interest in this one. “One of the things that is under consideration is an amendment to the Strategic Infrastructure Act to treat data centres as part of our strategic infrastructure and enable the planning process to work more smoothly,” he said. Here’s hoping they can roll this one on quickly and save the day down West.
Also in that article of mine I warned of the moves by Junker and his Commission cronies to destroy one of Ireland’s competitive advantages in attracting foreign direct investment, our 12.5% corporate tax rate. The core issue here is whether you use the voting system that requires the unanimous agreement of all countries or the voting system preferred by Junker, that of qualified majority voting (QMV). The Council of Ministers has two ways of taking decisions – unanimity, when everyone has to be in agreement – and qualified majority voting – a system of weighted votes. QMV is the most common method of decision-making, used in all but the most sensitive issues. But here’s the thing! Unlike what some people seem to think here, each country does NOT have the same voting power under QMV. The treaty allocated the votes as follows:
10 votes: France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom,
5 votes: Belgium, Netherlands,
3 votes: Denmark, Ireland,
2 votes: Luxembourg.
Junker has already been reported as saying that Germany, France, Italy and Belgium are in favour of his chosen Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) plan idea. That’s 35 votes for before we even begin voting. If it goes to a QMV vote, we’re fucked. The system is rigged to ensure we are steamrolled.
But the Indo collared the lad Junker and report this morning that, “EC president says there will be no changes without our consent.” So he’s for us and against us? But you need to read the slippery way he outlines things as he sees them. “When it comes to taxation, because that was your question, I was proposing if the European Council did so, by unanimous decision, to change the voting rules in the European Union when it comes to taxation. But if you have unanimity or qualified majority voting, this is not … this does not mean that these things could be done without debate,” he said. So what he is saying here is all about the voting system used firstly. Currently, because national taxation laws and rules are so sacred, unanimous agreement of all countries is required for any changes or agreements and that is how Ireland has been able to defend it’s rate until now. . But the slick Junker wants to have a unanimous agreement of all countries to change the way taxation is voted on in the future. What he’s actually saying is let’s vote to change how we vote on tax issues. (to qualified majority voting), and then we’ll be in a position to vote on a Consolidated Corporate Tax Base with Germany, France and Italy all having ten votes each and Ireland only three. As the Indo rightly surmises, “A move to QMV would end the ability to block changes.”
You couldn’t watch these guys, could you? Our only hope is that Leo & Pascal are on the ball and I’ll leave it to you to decide how warm and fuzzy that makes you feel. But someone is going to have to keep a close eye on these unelected Commissioners and their President. If we are tricked once, then there is no way back other than getting out of the EU altogether.