I propose to take Questions Nos. 106, 108 and 109 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, currently taxation matters at EU level, in particular tax directives, require the unanimous agreement of all Member States before they can be adopted. Taxation is one of the areas which remains subject to the subsidiarity principle and therefore within the gift of national parliaments. This means that Member States maintain powers in the area of taxation unless EU legislation has been agreed in a specific area. The principle of subsidiarity is guaranteed by Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union.
This current system of deciding taxation matters at EU level has been the basis of decisions for tax proposals since the beginning of the European Union. Since 2015, Member States have unanimously agreed in excess of 20 different tax initiatives.
While there has been discussions at EU level about changing the current voting system from unanimity to QMV (qualified majority voting), a considerable number of Member States have expressed support for retaining the current voting rules in taxation.
Ireland believes that the current unanimity-based voting procedure is the most appropriate voting system in the area of taxation. Several Member States have made clear that their Governments do not support any proposed change to how tax decisions are made at European level.
As EU partners, the United Kingdom and Ireland have traditionally shared similar views on the broader tax issue of harmonisation and on proposals such as the proposed directive for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. While Brexit will result in the loss of an important ally on these matters, Ireland will not be isolated as a number of other countries have similar views to us.
Brexit, in whatever form it takes, will have a significant impact on Ireland, and requires planning by Government, business and citizens, as well as at the EU level. Our planning at home and at the EU level for all possible outcomes will continue. The Department of Finance and other Government Departments and key Agencies have been preparing for Brexit for three years now – and we continue to do so, through extensive contingency planning and stakeholder engagement. Last week (on 12 June) the Commission issued its fifth Contingency Communication which updates and reinforces the necessary no deal Brexit preparedness measures at EU level.
Whatever the outcome of Brexit, Ireland will remain in the EU with all the stability and certainty that membership brings, including access to the Single Market of over 500 million people.