The EU’s second highest court ruled on Wednesday that the Commission had failed to prove that the company had received illegal state aid from Ireland under favorable tax deals.
The European Commission – the leading European antitrust authority – said in 2016 that the Irish government had granted Apple ( an illegal advantage by helping the iPhone maker keep its tax bill artificially low for more than 20 years. )
But Ireland did not want money. The small country has become the European base for companies like Apple, Google ( and )Facebook ( because it has one of the lowest corporate tax rates in Europe. He therefore teamed up with Apple to fight the Commission. )
In a statement, an Apple spokesperson told CNN Business that the company was “satisfied” with the decision, arguing that the matter never concerned the amount of tax it paid, but where she paid for it.
The Irish government also welcomed the move, saying it had never given special treatment to Apple.
“The exact amount of Irish tax has been charged according to normal Irish tax rules,” the finance minister said in a statement.
The court ruling is a blow to the Commission, which has sought to crack down on what it considers to be unfair tax deals in Europe. The Commission could appeal the decision to the highest European court.
Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s top antitrust official, said she was studying the judgment carefully before deciding on the next steps. But she swore that the Commission would continue to aggressively pursue what it considered “illegal state aid”.
“At the same time, the application of state aid must go hand in hand with a change in business philosophies and good legislation to remedy the shortcomings and ensure transparency. We have already made a lot of progress at national, European and global levels, and we must continue to work together to succeed, “said Vestager in a statement.
– James Frater contributed to this article.