Published: Tue, 06 October 2015
Seán Kelly MEP has called on the European Commission to provide fair competition for indigenous companies within the Single European Market.
Addressing his colleagues in the Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg this week (Monday), Kelly pointed out how some large Multinationals can use their size and power to tactically avoid paying taxes in EU Member States which in turn creates an anti-competitive environment, and prevents smaller indigenous companies from competing.
The MEP called on the European Commission to “ensure fair competition for indigenous companies that try to expand across Europe and avail of the opportunities offered by the Single Market”, before using Irish Fast Food chain Supermac’s as an example of a company that is being unfairly kept out of the market by large incumbents.
“Supermac’s has a fantastic reputation at home as successful and popular home grown Irish indigenous brand. However, in the market in which it aims to compete there are large multinational market incumbents that can to use their size and stature to create unfair advantages by tactically avoiding taxes in the Member States in which they operate, hurting these Member State’s revenues from tax collection in the process.
Mr. Kelly told of the difficulties Supermac’s has encountered due to the way in which American fast-food giant McDonald’s operates.
“McDonald’s is currently under EU investigation for allegedly paying less than they really should have been paying for years, costing the EU around €3.7 billion in lost taxes between 2009 and 2013. The money freed up allows for significant investment into improving business operations and increasing their marketing activities. How are smaller players like Supermac’s to compete?” asked the Fine Gael MEP.
“I ask the Commission to provide clarity on what is being done to aid such businesses in this regard and make the conditions right for our home-grown businesses to prosper and I call on my colleagues in the European Parliament to join me in fighting to ensure that our own European companies have a fair opportunity to succeed, grow and create jobs across the Union.”
Mr Kelly additionally highlighted the challenge by McDonald’s over Supermac’s registration of its trademark in Europe as another example of large multinationals using their power to keep competition out of the market:
“There are millions around the world with ‘Mc’ in their surname. I hope that common sense prevails and Supermac’s will be able to spread their great Irish brand across the EU”, he concluded.