German SPD Leader Indicts Govt, U.S Firms In Multi-Billion Tax Avoidance

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

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.

Reuters quoted the politician as also calling 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.

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

The party 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.

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