German SPD leader says State complicit in multi-billion tax avoidance

Martin Schulz takes aim at US tech giants and Republic

SPD leader Martin Schulz also gives the thumbs up to a new European finance minister to combat tax evasion. Photograph: Reuters

SPD leader Martin Schulz also gives the thumbs up to a new European finance minister to combat tax evasion. Photograph: Reuters

 

The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) took aim at the Republic and criticised US technology firms Apple, Facebook and Google on Thursday, saying a strong Europe was needed to make sure they stick to the rules.

Martin Schulz, who hopes to persuade his party to approve talks with German chancellor Angela Merkel on forming a new coalition, told a congress of his SPD party that Ireland was complicit in allowing companies such as Apple to avoid billions of euros in tax.

He also called for the creation of a European finance minister, who should fight tax evasion by reining in the race to the bottom in tax policy among member states. A similar call surfaced in a European Commission reform agenda on Wednesday.

Strong Europe

“Only a strong Europe can force platform giants like Facebook and Google to respect our rules and basic rights,” he said.

The SPD was critical of the Republic’s role in the international taxation system last month too, voting against an Irish request to restructure crisis-era loans to save €150 million in interest repayments.

– Reuters