The European Union (EU) is that wicked stepmother and the likes of Martin Schultz, Herman van Rompuy, and Jean Claude Juncker are the evil stepsisters. They are overbearing, odious and dictatorial. You (the nation) can never get away from these iniquitous entities and individuals until you locate the glass slipper (freedom), but when you do you are liberated from the villainous stepmother and stepsisters.
On Wednesday, the European Commission announced that it was filing a lawsuit against the government of Ireland for failing to collect $15 billion (€13 billion) in back taxes owed by Apple.
In the same announcement, the EU confirmed that it would be hitting Amazon with a $300 million (€250 million), plus interest, unpaid tax bill. The EU contends that Luxembourg committed an illegal act when it slashed the online retailer juggernaut’s taxes.
And many critics wonder why millions of Britons want to absquatulate from a sinking ship.
EU Sues Ireland
EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager confirmed the trade block would be suing the Irish government because it did not gather the $15 billion that Apple owes in back taxes. EU officials had mandated Ireland to collect this sum of money as part of a court order last year.
Ireland ostensibly was not permitted to grant Apple any aid.
Vestager said in a statement:
“Ireland has to recover up to 13 billion euros in illegal State aid from Apple.”
However, more than one year after the Commission adopted this decision, Ireland has still not recovered the money, also not in part. We of course understand that recovery in certain cases may be more complex than in others, and we are always ready to assist. But Member States need to make sufficient progress to restore competition. That is why we have today decided to refer Ireland to the EU Court for failing to implement our decision.”
Dublin was given until January 3, 2017 to recover the back taxes the EU has accused Apple of owing. Officials have said that it will complete its calculations by March 2018, but in the meantime, the Commission has referred Ireland to the EU Court of Justice.
EU Scolds Luxembourg Over Taxes
The EU was not finished there.
Vestager is scolding Luxembourg for giving Amazon tax benefits worth close to $300 million between 2003 and 2011. The Commission was displeased by this revelation, averring that this is illegal state aid “without any valid justification.”
Here is the important part of her objections: it gave Luxembourg an unfair economic advantage.
Moving forward, the Luxembourg government will be required to find out the exact amount that Amazon owes in taxes based on – ready for a laugh? – the EU’s methodology.
Vestager said in a statement:
“[Governments] cannot give selective tax benefits to multinational groups that are not available to others.
Amazon was allowed to pay four times less tax than other local companies subject to the same national tax rules [and] this is illegal under EU state-aid rules.”
She also tweeted about the situation:
.@amazon tax benefits in Luxembourg are illegal under our common European rules on state aid. Amazon to repay benefits worth around €250 mio
— Margrethe Vestager (@vestager) October 4, 2017
EU’s History of Lawsuits
Does the EU believe in national sovereignty? Of course not! The EU has a long history of spouting orders to its members and meddling in the domestic affairs of these countries.
One of the most contentious issues between the European leadership and member states is immigration. Many EU nations do not want to take in refugees, but that is not going over well with migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.
In June, the EU established legal proceedings against Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, which have been accused of only accepting a small number of refugees. If the top EU court rules in favor of the Commission, then these countries could face massive fines.
Avramopoulos told a press conference this past summer:
“I regret to see that, despite our repeated calls to pledge to relocate, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland have not yet taken the necessary action.”
A Commission spokesperson demanded compliance or else:
“If member states do not increase their relocations soon, the Commission will not hesitate to make use of its powers for those which have not complied.”
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski told state television that the 2015 refugee plan is “erroneous,” arguing that Warsaw already contributes to the migrant crisis by protecting EU’s external borders and strengthening the government’s humanitarian involvement.
Szymanski defiantly declared:
“From the political point of view, this action … unnecessarily heats up political tensions, of which there are already too many in the European Union.
If necessary, Poland is ready to defend its legal arguments in court.”
Brussels hasn’t confined itself to only the topic of immigration.
In 2016, European officials initiated legal action against the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and three other nations for allegedly failing to create penalty systems to deter violations of emission laws. This came in the wake of dieselgate, a scandal that allowed VW to game emission tests through so-called defeat devices.
The EU is also going to court over member states not implementing bail-in laws, a move that would force creditors and depositors to take a loss in their holdings should a financial institution fail. Luxembourg and The Netherlands would experience the most significant setbacks if they legislated bail-ins.
Will Spain be the next target of legal claims for failing to suppress Catalonia independence even further?
Let’s be honest: the EU is a failed experiment and one that should enter the dustbins of history. Unfortunately, the EU acts more like a crime syndicate: once you join, you are never permitted to flee. If you leave, there will be a contract placed on your nation. With Brexit happening, the EU will inevitably hold a stronger grip on the remaining parties.
Europe can only hope for Italexit, Nexit, Frexit, Polexit, and Grexit in the coming years.
Should the European Union be disbanded? Let us know in the comments section!