The EU Competition Commissioner is losing from a legal point of view, but winning the political battle against tax scams.
Brussels. After Apple in Ireland, and now also Amazon in Luxembourg: Margrethe Vestager has suffered legal defeats in its two most important measures to combat tax forms that distort competition. The European Union Court in Luxembourg (something like first instance competition law cases of union law) found on Wednesday that Amazon had wrongly ordered the European Commission to pay 250 million euros in corporate taxes for the years 2006 to 2014. The commission could not prove that the American group enjoyed With illegal tax benefits at its European headquarters in the Grand Duchy. In July last year, the court ruled the same on the question of whether Apple should pay 13 billion euros in corporate tax in Ireland.
These are without a doubt two bitter legal defeats for Committee and, above all, for Westager personally. Amid all the political crises, in which the commission does not necessarily have to fight rabid populism, the 52-year-old former Danish Deputy Prime Minister is the undisputed star of Brussels’ power. It is a politician who can speak eloquently and with clear eyes about one of the most important organizational problems of the twenty-first century – that is, how can democracies harbor the social, political and economic power of digital companies? Thanks to her position on the European Union Competition Authority, she also has the means to turn her words into action. Ursula von der Leyen has also recognized this feature. Westager, who had been briefly in the running for Commission president after the European elections, chose one of the vice-presidents and left competition management to her. This is unusual. Usually, delegates serving more than one term are intentionally assigned a different region.