Commission must enforce the existing treaties before suggesting new ones.
ISME, the Irish SME Association today (15th September) responded to the ‘state- of-the-union’ address by President Juncker on Wednesday 13th September. While we welcome his comments regarding progress of the EU agenda on Energy, Security, Capital Markets, Banking Union and a Digital Single Market; his address moved away from many of the more thoughtful and considered positions he voiced in his ‘five pathways to unity’ last March.
The progress towards trade agreements with Japan, Mexico, and South American countries is noteworthy, as is the proposal to open trade negotiations with Australia and New Zealand.
Commenting on the address ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell said“While a ‘European Social Standards Union’ might sound laudable, one wonders whose social standards will prove to be the template. At a time when freedom of movement for Irish goods across France is being eroded by the French Government’s enforcement of its domestic minimum wage law (the ‘Loi Macron’), we need to see the Commission vigorously enforcing the founding treaties (yes- even against large countries like France) before they propose the introduction of new community-wide standards.”
“It is particularly odd to see so politically astute an operator as President Juncker urging the adoption of qualified majority voting for decisions on the common consolidated corporate tax base, on VAT, on ‘fair taxes for the digital industry’ and on the ‘financial transaction tax.’ He knows these are non-starters for several member states.”
“If President Juncker is determined to maintain a united front ahead of the UK exit negotiations, it ill behoves him to antagonise member states which have already indicated an antipathy to these issues. In any case, tax policy is a member-state competence.”
“France continually over-spends the euro-area budget target of 3%. Germany has repeatedly ignored the 6% external surplus requirement. When the EU’s banking rules don’t fit the Italian banking problem, the rules are bent to suit. When France didn’t want an Italian firm to buy the STX Shipyard, they nationalised it. Ireland could be forgiven for thinking that the EU rules apply only to the little countries.”
“As figures released by the Department of Finance on 13th September show, 11 of the 15 European Union goods most exposed to Britain are Irish exports. Adding to Ireland’s Brexit woes by pushing unwanted tax policies is not merely impolitic, it is unwise.”