Opening Bell: EU tax harmony, Ireland's favourite brand, Mastercard's £14bn lawsuit

Get up to speed with today's breaking Irish and international business news

The European Union is set to discuss new proposals to increase cross-border tax harmonisation.

Ths issue will be on the agenda when European finance ministers gather for a two-day summit in Bratislava today.

Documents seen by The Irish Times reveal that there will be a focus on the "further cross-border harmonisation of tax rules" in the face of "new global challenges" in the area of taxation.

This is the first meeting since the European Commission ruled that Apple's tax payments in Ireland were subject to a 'sweetheart' deal.

Irish politicians, including Taoiseach Enda Kenny, have accused the ruling of breaching Ireland's freedom to create and manage its own tax structures.

______________________________________________________

Irish people have shown they still have a sweet tooth, with confectionery again emerging as the biggest-selling grocery category in the country.

Checkout magazine's Top 100 Brands published today lists the biggest selling brands in Ireland.

Cadbury Dairy Milk is the nation's favourite sweet, rising to number two on the overall list of best-selling brands - just behind Coca-Cola.

The other top five grocery categories were milk, bakery, carbonated soft drink and biscuits.

______________________________________________________

Mastercard faces a one of the largest ever legal claims in the UK - as customers seek £14bn in damages.

The action relates to card charges between 1992 and 2008 - the European Court of Justice ruled that the charges were excessive in 2014.

At that point, Mastercard lowered the fees. The company plans to fight the actions, "Now that the claim has been filed, we will take time to review it in detail. However we continue to firmly disagree with the basis of this claim and we intend to oppose it vigorously," the company said.

______________________________________________________

"Maybe next year, we won't allow you to make a booking online unless you join up for our myRyanair programme," Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said during an address at the US Ambassador's residence.

Doing so would allow the company to track individual customer behaviour.

"If you flew five times with us last year, you'll get an even bigger incentive to fly with us six times this year. We'll also know if you like to park your car at the airport, and we can give you a one-click discount on the car-parking. You order your coffee on board, you click and it's all done. No payments on board the aircraft. We're going to transform the whole travel journey," he continued, according to the Irish Independent.

A number of the world's leading online retailers already use this practice and insist that individuals set up personal accounts before completing purchases.

Over 11 million passengers have already signed up to the service. Earlier in this week, the company offered €10 off flights for passengers who created accounts.

Ryanair says that myRyanair users experience "faster bookings and check-ins, and a personalised Ryanair experience."