On 30 August 2016, the European competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, announced that “Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13 billion to Apple”. Those benefits distorted competition within the European marketplace, and so the European Commission instructed Ireland to recover the unpaid taxes. This announcement ignited a storm of protest from Apple and from the Irish government. It also sparked a wider debate about how multinational companies are taxed and whether some form of tax harmonization is essential to the functioning of Europe’s internal market.

READ MORE: The European Union is no supermarket

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