Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Questions (97)

Brian Stanley


97. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for Finance the steps he is taking to ensure that Ireland does not continue to overpay the EU through the use of inflated gross national income distorted by redomiciled companies. [31871/13]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As the Deputy will be aware, Ireland’s contribution to the EU Budget is an obligation of EU membership and is a charge on the Central Fund under national legislation. The contribution formula for the EU Budget is comprised of Traditional Own Resources, a VAT-based payment and a residual balancing component paid in accordance with a contribution key derived from each Member State’s share of EU Gross National Income (GNI). This GNI element accounts for approximately two-thirds of Ireland’s contribution to the EU Budget. The CSO prepares the GNI figures for Ireland in accordance with European and international statistical standards. In line with these methodologies, as the re-domiciled companies to which the Deputy refers are resident in Ireland, they must be incorporated in our national accounts. It should also be noted that revisions to Irish economic data are frequent due to the output fluctuations in the large multinational sector operating here. Indeed, should the position related to these re-domiciled firms unwind, this would serve to lower GNI, which would in turn reduce our EU contribution in future years.

The Deputy will be aware that the use of GNI as a contribution key favours Ireland, as unlike other countries this is significantly lower than our GDP. While my Department will continue to monitor the situation closely, it should be noted that under the current 2007 – 2013 MFF, Ireland has remained a net beneficiary from the EU Budget over the whole period. Furthermore, it is anticipated that Ireland will, almost certainly, continue to be a net beneficiary for the next number of years.