In London, at a recent meeting of the House of Commons, the Public Accounts Committee of British MPs feigned shock and horror when it was publicly revealed that the giant US multinational corporation so-reputed "Fair Trade" coffee marketing conglomerate, Starbucks, had been paying a 6% royalty on all its UK sales to the Netherlands.
Worse still, it appeared that it was all under the terms of an arrangement, the details of which were to be kept secret, this being done apparently at the specific request of the Dutch taxation authorities.
Matters deteriorated further when details of how the huge online marketer, almost a "virtual mammoth department store", Amazon. co.uk, had been constructed to feed the large UK market, to all intents and purposes, supposedly largely taking place in the "dodgy" of Luxembourg, at least as far as the apparently innumerate apparatchiks of the British Government's tax collectors, HMRC, were concerned. Details of these arrangements with the tiny Duchy of Luxembourg began to only gradually, and with great difficulty, emerge before this same group of MPs.
Now it has long been the premise of my blog, Ironies Too, (and before that its predecessor, Ironies), that the aim of the EU was to first strip the UK bare of assets and revenues before then turning upon France, which country up to this point had been happily itself amongst this pack of hunters and strippers, or moochers and looters as the perceptive, Ayn Rand, would no doubt have so described them.
Now it seems that such an event was indeed about to occur with the Hollande Government, (apparently even joined by support from the right of the French political divide) taking fright at other Luxembourg connections, as reported by Reuters. This may be read, I trust, with all due astonishment, as it appears to hint at the destruction of one of the foundation stones of all our liberties, ie: property rights, from here.
A few quotes will give a flavour of the extraordinary implications of the causes of the dispute now underway, which to this particular reader seem to imply that neither the French nor the authorities of the Grand Duchy seem to have been paying anything other than lip service to the grand intents of the European Treaties, which they have blithely signed over recent decades.
"This declaration is purely and simply scandalous," Parisot told RTL radio. "To undermine the principle of private property in this haphazard way is very serious and, what's more, very costly."
"I would have liked it if she used that word ('scandalous') when the owner of this site was transferring a chunk of profits from French sites over our borders, notably to Luxembourg," Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac said.
Now the seventeen former nations of the Euro Group plan to merge themselves under a single banking supervisor as if mutual trust had succeeded in replacing centuries of suspicion which occasionally and too often gave way to shared loathing.
We will await these negotiations with interest - but it seems if they cannot openly discuss their tax arrangements with common companies operating in both their territories after 60 odd years of close economic alliance, there is only likely to be a very small chance of success.