EU’s hypocritical Margrethe Vestager going after Apple while backing Madeira tax avoidance scheme

“This morning I heard an interesting radio report on the European Commission’s long-standing, practically unconditional support of one of Europe’s worst tax avoidance schemes,” Florian Mueller writes for FOSS Patents.

“In light of the Ireland-Apple ‘state aid’ case, it would be bad enough if this merely involved the European Commission as an institution. Large organizations rarely manage to be consistent,” Mueller writes. “But this is a lot worse: the very same commissioner who wants Apple to pay approximately 13 billion euros in additional taxes, Danish socialist-populist Margrethe Vestager, [who] has given her blessings to the extension of the infamous Madeira tax avoidance scheme until 2027.”

“The aforementioned radio report quotes her spokesman, Ricardo Cardoso, as saying that ‘the free trade zone is a job engine for the Madeira region and the Commission is presently not aware of any indication that the related structure is not compliant with [EU state aid] rules.’ That statement is absolutely ridiculous,” Mueller writes. “…The EU has gone from merely failing to have a positive impact on European innovation to causing serious damage, such as by creating legal uncertainty that threatens to dissuade more and more companies from investing here.”

Much more in the full article here.

Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition
Margrethe Vestager, European Commissioner for Competition
MacDailyNews Take: Yup.

Margrethe Vestager is a fool who’s in way over her head.MacDailyNews, September 1, 2016

Now, to be fair, this is only because poor Margrethe is an idiot politician. Go back to Denmark, honey, you’re in over your head – unless your agenda is to destroy the EU from the inside out, in which case: Carry on, you’re doing a hell of a job!MacDailyNews, September 2, 2016

Anyone who decides to set up a business in a European Union member country today is insane.MacDailyNews, August 30, 2016

Apple has missed the deadline to pay $13.9 billion to Ireland in illegal tax benefits – January 31, 2017
Apple CFO Maestri: What the EC is doing here is a disgrace for European citizens, it should be ashamed’ – December 19, 2016
Apple’s EU tax nemesis Margrethe Vestager takes aim at other U.S. companies’ offshore profits – September 19, 2016
The ‘Brexit-Apple’ connection: What in the world was Margrethe Vestager thinking? – September 12, 2016
EU ministers line up to take tax bites out of Apple – September 12, 2016
Former EU competition commissioner: Vestager claim that Apple owes back taxes an incorrect use of EU law – September 2, 2016
Irish government to fight EU on Apple tax – September 2, 2016
Treasury accuses EU of trying to steal U.S. tax revenues with Apple decision – September 1, 2016
Irish residents opposed to EU’s tax demand of Apple – September 1, 2016
Apple Inc. pushes back against EU tax grab – September 1, 2016
Apple may repatriate billions of dollars next year after new U.S. President takes office – September 1, 2016
U.S. tax code allows for dramatic retaliation against EU overreach in Apple case – September 1, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on EU tax demand: ‘No one did anything wrong here and Ireland is being picked on… It is total political crap’ – September 1, 2016
U.S. Treasury: The European Commission’s retroactive tax demands on Apple are unfair – August 30, 2016
EU demands Apple pay massive $14.5 billion in taxes plus interest – August 30, 2016
U.S. government warns EU: Do not hit Apple with a massive back tax bill – or else – August 25, 2016


  1. Others being or not being hypocrites does nothing to whether an action is right or wrong. Apple should pay taxes. End of story. Everyone should. This article is garbage. No way is Margrethe Vestager close to being a socialist.. she is on the right (conservative) side of the Danish parliament.. why Macdailynews would reference this kind of factually wrong article is beyond me..

    1. MDN did not describe the Danish Doofus as a “socialist,” FOSS Patents’ Florian Mueller did.

      Learn how to read before you start criticizing.

      Apple paid their taxes. The EU is trying to change the laws after the fact. MDN is 100% correct in their takes on this matter.

      1. You fanboys just stop.

        The EU is not trying to change the tax laws. Ireland is NOT COMPLIANT with the law.

        This has been going on for years, and has culmunated into the Tax Authorities having to render orders against Ireland and by extension Apple to pay up.

        Apple was given special treatment by Ireland, with an laughable tax rate where Apple is effectively paying little corporate income taxes.

        Ireland must pay for breaking the tax law, who then must turn around and order Apple to pay them.

        1. You “Dangerous People with little knowledgeable” just STOP!

          All Apple Tax fillings have been vetted by the EU and Ireland and they were deemed to be correct.

          Now, all of a sudden, they want to retroactively change the law just because they see Apples mountain of money.

          If the tax fillings were incorrect at the time of filling why were they not addressed then….over a decade ago???

          The EU will shoot itself in the foot and disintegrate if things like this get enforced.

  2. If I said “Anyone who decides to set up a business in the US under Trump today, is insane.” I would be rightly taken to task. So please MDN, quit with the xenophobia! Business is business and adapting to government incompetence is just par for the course…anywhere. Having a heavy burden of ‘guberment’ doesn’t make US business folk stupid or insane, so why all the bile directed towards the EU? Look to your own backyard.

    1. The EU is a joke. Make that “a rapidly disintegrating” joke. Hopefully it fully implodes before Europe and individual European countries are ruined forever.

      Anyone who wants to set up a business under President Trump is merely thinking clearly. President Trump is very pro-business. Even a Clinton supporter could grasp that fact.

      1. Trump is certainly pro on his own businesses and those of his family. And Trump is also certainly willing to inappropriately stick his nose into the business of other private U.S. businesses. Whether or not Trump’s policies are in the best interests of businesses, in general, is debatable.

        Businesses prefer stability over chaos. Right now, Trump is chaos. He is throwing out executive orders like popcorn at a movie theater, many of which are overly vague. Trump is also inappropriately butting into private business situations, creating international political instability, threatening tariff/trade wars, and failing to enact actual, meaningful legislation in cooperation with Congress. In addition, he could conceivably be a one term (or less) President, depending on how much leeway the GOP-led Congress will give Trump to flaunt the law. In addition, as Fwhatever is fond of pointing out, House elections occur every two years and that could lead to changes in Congressional leadership. And who knows what might happen under the next President, whether in four years or eight (or longer, if Dictator Trump somehow manages to circumvent, ignore, or change the 22nd Amendment?

        The Trump Administration has a long way to go before anyone can legitimately claim that his policies are beneficial to the country. But Fwhatever is ever willing to prematurely claim victory for his political party and declare failure for the opposition. Therein one can discern the worthlessness of his judgment.

        1. Below is the “Top 10” list of President Obama’s nominees and appointees who have resigned in disgrace.
          1. Obama’s nominee to chair the National Intelligence Council, Chas Freeman, withdrew over questions about payments from the Saudi Arabian government, business ties to the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp., and negative statements he made about U.S. support for Israel. After he resigned he issued a combative public statement blaming the “Israel lobby” for “character assassination.”
          2. White House “Green Jobs” czar Van Jones resigned after he it was discovered he signed a statement in support of a 9/11 “Truther” group.
          3. Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) withdrew his nomination to become Health and Human Services Secretary after it was discovered he failed to properly pay his taxes.
          4. Nancy Killefer, Obama’s nominee to serve as the government’s chief performance officer, withdrew due to tax problems.
          5. Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) withdrew his nomination to become Commerce Secretary because of an ongoing investigation into whether he doled out government contracts in exchange for campaign money.
          6. White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers resigned after posing for photos at a White House dinner that a couple crashed through security to attend.
          7. Jonathan Z. Cannon, nominated to serve as deputy director at the Environmental Protection Administration, withdrew over questions about a defunct non-profit, America’s Clean Water Foundation, where he served as a board member. In 2007, EPA auditors accused the non-profit of mismanaging $25 million in taxpayer funding.
          8. Jide Zeitlin, Obama’s nominee to serve as U.S ambassador to the United Nations for management and reform withdrew his name while being accused of identify fraud and improper business practices.
          9. Erroll Southers, Obama’s nominee to serve as director of the Travel Security Administration, withdrew after refusing to answer questions about collective bargaining and false testimony he presented to Congress.
          10. Maj. Gen. Robert A. Harding, Obama’s second nominee to service as director of the Travel Security Administration, withdrew his name after it was discovered he received “service disabled veteran” status for sleep apnea.

          1. All you’ve proved little_botty, is that the oversight system of checks and balances, has made some calls…rigorously applied by the Republican majority, sometimes for mere technicalities but yes, most correctly.
            I wish I could see the same rigorous implementation of their powers to reject Trump’s nominees….by the same Republican dominated vetting bodies. Shamefully, they are all falling into line with nary a whimper.
            Doesn’t matter in the long run…DumpyTrump couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery; he’s doomed to fail since governing a whole country just isn’t possible with his style of leadership given he doesn’t do consensus – even with his own party.
            You can carry on with your divisive foul mouthed nonsense for as long as you like, I don’t care a toss. In fact I encourage you to turn it up to ’11’, go all-in, bet your trailer and your dog on Trumpy…you’ll win bigger!

        2. “The Trump Administration has a long way to go before anyone can legitimately claim that his policies are beneficial to the country.”

          By the same token, it has a long way to go before anyone can legitimately claim that his policies are detrimental to the country.

          Essentially, what you are doing is making ad hominem attacks on Trump because, in essence, you still can’t accept that he was elected President according to the procedures laid down in the Constitution. EVERY politician prematurely claims victory, and declares failure for the opposition; Obama was a master of this particular political art, and yet where is your criticism of the worth of HIS judgment?

      2. Yes but your country compared to the EU is a total farce, anyone who doesn’t have the stars and skidmarks shoved up their ass can tell that.

        You are totally right about the chump, he’s great for business, just make sure you leave your ethics at the door and moral compasses are not welcome.

  3. Why did it take the EU 20 – 30 years to figure this out?

    What’s the point of an Irish government if they can’t set their own tax structure?

    What’s the point of the EU if they can’t figure out the Irish are supposedly screwing the EU tax structure?

    And why doesn’t every EU country simply agree to the exact same tax structure upon entry to the EU if this is an issue?

    What is the lowest corporate tax an EU member state is “allowed” to charge?

    1. “And why doesn’t every EU country simply agree to the exact same tax structure upon entry to the EU if this is an issue?”
      They do exactly that. And it appears that Eire ‘might’ have been applying exemptions wrongly – hence the court case coming up to determine whose tax interpretation is the right one.
      Try imagining an EU company with $150B stashed in the US paying 0.1% corporate tax on their American earnings. How does that sit?

      1. “Try imagining an EU company with $150B stashed in the US paying 0.1% corporate tax on their American earnings. How does that sit?”

        Dopey, convoluted, tax-laws lead to obscure, convoluted methods of fulfilling those laws while paying the least amount of tax possible. Corporations always figure out the tax laws before the politicians who write them. Then the politicians whine about “fulfilling the spirit” of the law while never applying that same standard to their own passing of the law.

        Politicians continually rig the system for their own convoluted advantage, then whine when a company figures out a convoluted way to take advantage. The Madeira tax avoidance scheme is a perfect case in point.

        Would Vestager be whining if Apple had headquartered in Madeira 20 years ago instead of Ireland?

  4. I hope Apple and Eire gets punished BIG TIME over this.

    I live in Europe. I have bought Apple products, and paid them a lot of money. Had I known they would pay 0.1% in taxes of that money – try to guess how much I would have bought… Yeah, that’s right: 0.00%.

    Shame on you Apple! And shame on MacDailyNews for being to f**** ignorant about this!

    1. So you make your decisions on what products to purchase based on how much you expect the company to eventually pay in corporate taxes? Really? Why do I find this hard to believe?

      Guess you don’t shop on Amazon either. Get real dude.

      1. Well, of course I do base my decisions on information like that. Not doing it will be totally irresponsible and undermine the welfare society I live in. How can you – by any measure – consider that to be good for anyone?

        Actually I do not shop on Amazon either. But I do not know much their corporate tax payments. But the point is that you as a consumer should have the relevant information at hand, when you make your buying-decisions.

        Ideally the price tag could include information about the corporate tax percentage payed by the producer. So I could easily avoid cheapskates like Apple and the like.

  5. From the outside looking in, it looks like Germany is slowly accomplishing what they failed to accomplish “lightning-fast” back about 70 years ago or so – the subsuming of all European nations into one overarching state which, unrestrained by real protections for the people and for lower levels of government, is not-so-slowly becoming a soft tyranny. My prayers are with freedom-loving Europeans, however you view this particular issue.

  6. The EU was DESIGNED to break eventually. A monetary union without a true political union. It could not work indefinitely and would eventually, by necessity, need to be replaced by a single central government. That it has lasted this long is the true surprise.

    The EU will be forced to either become much more integrated (political union) or it will dissolve and fracture. In recent years, even France and Germany have contemplated getting out at some level, Britain actually voted to do so. Greece this week started musing about replacing the Euro with the US Dollar (I don’t endorse it). Portugal, Spain and Italy are not far from financial ruin and the financial system in Europe is a total mess.

    So why the EU moralizing about being somehow superior? It’s not based on much more than emotion I’d say.

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