Denmark’s Vestager fights EU battles with corporate giants

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, 30 Aug 16Image copyright AP Image caption Ms Vestager says Apple loved unlawful Irish tax advantages price as much as €13bn (£11bn)

Google, Starbucks, Amazon, Gazprom – and now Apple. The Eu Fee’s force for tax equity has brought festival circumstances in opposition to one multinational after another.

And within the leading edge is Denmark’s no-nonsense woman in Brussels, Margrethe Vestager.

A megastar in Danish politics, she hit the ground working while she joined Jean-Claude Juncker’s Fee team in Brussels in 2014.

“When a central authority lets an organization avoid paying its percentage, that company profits simply as if it received a handful of cash,” she stated in a speech in June.

The demand for Ireland to get well taxes from Apple dwarfs previous circumstances. Ms Vestager says Apple owes as much as €13bn (£11bn), relationship again to 2003. Apple and the Irish govt will appeal, rejecting the Commission’s ruling.

Image caption Borgen’s creator admitted modelling Birgitte Nyborg (C) on Margrethe Vestager

While nonetheless in opposition, she driven the ruling coalition to cut an early retirement programme and raise the retirement age from 60 to SIXTY FIVE in early 2011.

Danes hated it on the time, but that major reform did her no hurt. if truth be told, her birthday celebration’s fortunes soared and polled 9.5% in elections a few months later.

Image copyright Getty Pictures Symbol caption Visits to Queen Margrethe II at the palace in Copenhagen had been paid through bicycle

Borgen author Adam Value as soon as attended a party conference and has since spoken of Ms Vestager as the girl who inspired the nature of Birgitte Nyborg, the leader of a small celebration, the Moderates, propelled to the post of prime minister.

In the series, Nyborg’s marriage fails as she tries to juggle the demands of working a minority govt with protecting a family going.

Ms Vestager, by contrast, appears unfazed. Her complete family moved to Brussels, aside from one daughter who stayed in Copenhagen to study.

‘In Brussels, no-you can actually listen you scream’

She wrote poetry during coalition talks after the 2011 elections and became popular for her love of knitting and baking.

Image copyright Twitter Image caption Margrethe Vestager used to be considered one of the primary outstanding Danish politicians to become energetic on social media

She has 160,000 Twitter followers and, on the grounds that 2009, her tweets have concerned a heady mixture of politics and favorite leisure pursuits.

While former Top Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt nominated her for the submit in Brussels, tongues wagged in Copenhagen.

Was Once this an try to be rid of a difficult minister, as depicted in a memorable Borgen episode entitled, “In Brussels no-it is easy to hear you scream”?

That turns out unlikely. Ms Thorning-Schmidt was herself being touted for a most sensible activity in Brussels. And as pageant commissioner, Margrethe Vestager has one in every of the hardest and easiest-profile briefs in Brussels.

The US Treasury Division has accused the Commission of concentrated on US firms, announcing its actions have an have an effect on on US tax revenue and on global efforts to combat tax avoidance. The Fee denies any anti-US bias.

Image copyright Margrethe Vestager Image caption Margrethe Vestager tweeted this image shortly ahead of she was once grilled by way of the eu Parliament

Political rise

Made chair of her birthday party on the age of 21 Training minister 1998-2001 Becomes birthday party leader in 2007 Financial and interior affairs minister 2011-14 Joins Eu Commission August 2014 Observed in Denmark as left of centre on immigration and gay marriage Considered as right-wing on welfare.

‘Let me Google it’

One of her thornier tasks in Brussels is tackling the “Luxleaks” scandal. Most Sensible companies were given sweetheart tax deals by the Luxembourg govt, permitting them to funnel loads of hundreds of thousands of euros in income through subsidiaries in the Grand Duchy.

In October 2015 the Fee found that Fiat had enjoyed unfair tax advantages in Luxembourg, as had Starbucks in the Netherlands.

Amazon and McDonald’s are nonetheless under research by the Fee within the “Luxleaks” case.

Ms Vestager’s current boss, Jean-Claude Juncker, was top minister at the time the offers were struck.

In June, Luxembourg prosecutors discovered two whistleblowers responsible over “Luxleaks”. Former PricewaterhouseCoopers staff Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet won 12- and nine-month sentences respectively for leaking documents.

Whilst asked to explain Ms Vestager, a colleague in Copenhagen told the BBC: “She’s a political go-getter who stands up for her ideals.”

Ms Vestager stresses that she is acting in opposition to market abuse – unfair festival – but not against a firm’s marketplace dominance, if that standing is fair and bonafide.

“for those who search for one thing you say, ‘Let me Google it’. i feel you wish to congratulate a company that may be such a success,” she stated.

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