Poland and Ireland in new war of words

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called for an overhaul of Europe’s tax system.

“There are tax havens in Europe which abuse their taxation systems to the detriment of other countries. And we should stop this because it is not helping the European Union to build trust towards each other. I would be in favour of eliminating all tax havens from Europe because this would bring a level playing field,” said Mr Morawiecki.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos on January 24, Mr Morawiecki’s words appear to be directed towards Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar.

“Mateusz Morawiecki made an emotive plea for an overhaul of Europe’s tax system, taking a thinly veiled swipe at the Taoiseach sitting next to him. Leo Varadkar was brutally undercut by his Polish counterpart in front of the world’s most influential people,” wrote Gavin McLoughlin, business news editor at the Irish Independent.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Poland has put Ireland in a difficult situation, following comments by Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz that placing a five-year limit on the Irish backstop could resolve the Brexit crisis.

Mr Morawiecki is a firm believer in the so-called digital tax – which imposes a levy on the revenues of big tech companies. Ireland, however, is against such a tax.

“Ireland is opposed to the digital tax because it taxes revenues rather than profits. The principles have to be that the tax is where value is created – not where there is turnover,” said Mr Varadkar.