EU Economic Commissioner: It's "strange" that Ireland has rejected its Apple Tax windfall

He says the country could be using the money to fund social spending programmes...

 EU Economic Commissioner: It's "strange" that Ireland has rejected its Apple Tax windfall

Fine Gael Party Leader Enda Kenny TD, centre, and Finance Spokesperson Michael Noonan TD, left, and Leo Varadkar Photo /RollingNews.ie

Ahead of today's gathering of European Finance ministers in Bratislava, EU Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has expressed his surprise at Ireland's decision to reject a possible windfall payment in excess of €13bn from Apple.

"It is a strange decision in a way to say I don’t want your €13bn when you could have some social programmes or economic programmes in a country that has been damaged by a crisis but that’s their own will," he told reporters as he entered the meeting.

"We will defend our point of view. …We know that we are right," he continued.

Finance Minister, Michael Noonan previously said that taking the money would "be like eating the seed potatoes and destroying the future for people for short-term advantage now," as Ireland runs the risk of serious reputational damage following the EU ruling.

Arriving at today's meeting, Mr. Noonan said that he believes that other EU nations will support Ireland's appeal.

Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands have launched similar appeals.

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 at today's meeting.

Pierre Moscovici says that the EU is ready to "go further" to fight tax avoidance.

"We are not a politicised commission we are a political commission with a political will, and this political will is clearly to fight tax evasion, tax fraud, and aggressive tax planning," he added.