France seeks to harmonise EU corporate taxes and the Lisbon Treaty

And now the hour is near, it’s time to face the final curtain. So as Bertie’s days as Taoiseach near their inevitable conclusion his legacy as a staunch promoter of Europea Union comes under scrutiny. The issue is that when we’re done patting ourselves on the back at what good Europeans we are in order to avail of structural funding we must face the difficulties of increased European Union. We are now looking at a worldwide recession despite many economists arguing that things will be different this time. Sure there are asian and russian players in the market. The markets have a more global feel which should lessen the overall economic effect but will it protect a small island in the atlantic? I doubt it. The Celtic Tiger misnomer is a phenomenon primarily of being able to make limited but important choices about our own destiny as a nation. One of these choices is a low corporation tax regime which has been extremely successful in attracting companies to our shores and away from the harmonisation giants such as France and Germany. As we’re seeing the Tiger has been fed on tax revenue from multinationals and also from a rise in Irish consumerism, with pin prick focus on the property sector.
The Irish government so love EU tax harmonisation that they don’t dream of enforcing it unless it really suits. Hence our VRT system which is being made only passably more respectable to the EU with its nod to the Green’s carbon reduction initiatives. Harmonisation of corporation tax is bad for Ireland and your government knows it. However, they fear the EU’s wrath in relation to multiple court cases against us for environmental breaches and the conditions of our structural funding which hang over us like damocles sword. There have been many benefits from our membership of the EU; economic, social and cultural and I’m not sure I’d like to give those up but the ability to set our own tax regime is important as it’s one of the few effective mechanisms of economic differentiation. I don’t think we always get it right, but we’ve effectively used it for better or worse to promote aspects of our economy. (e.g construction via low corp tax and section 23 and 50 reliefs)
Funnily enough those who push for a vote against the Lisbon Treaty on nationalistic grounds are missing a point. Lisbon will provide the only reasonable mechanism for withdrawal from the EU in the future, should we feel it was appropriate….
Another interesting facet of Lisbon is that Ireland is the only state holding a public referendum on the matter. That is deeply unsettling as it calls into question the democratic nature of the EU itself, where it often feels national governments curry favour with the commission by opting for parliamentary ratification as opposed to public referenda.