Fury in the US, consternation in Ireland: the European Commission's 13 billion euro bite at tech giant Apple is leaving a bad aftertaste. Jo Webster reports.
The EU says Apple owes Ireland 13 billion euros. But Dublin doesn't want the money. Finance minister Michael Noonan calling the ruling bizarre. Now the ensuing row could even bring down the government. Cabinet ministers summoned to an emergency meeting Wednesday. ...To approve a decision to appeal the EU verdict. Reuters chief correspondent in Ireland Padraic Halpin says it's not clear if the minority party in the ruling coalition will go along: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, IRELAND, PADRAIC HALPIN, SAYING: "If it doesn't, and if it pulled out of government, then Fine Gael, the largest party, would no longer have sufficient support in the parliament to pass legislation, so it would likely lead to the government's collapse." Ireland could certainly use the money. 13 billion euros would shave six percent off the country's national debt. Or it could fund the entire health service for a year. But multinational firms like Apple are a big part of Ireland's economy. And many people are loth reluctant to scare them away: (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, IRELAND, PADRAIC HALPIN, SAYING: "Some people agree with the government. They say that it needs to fight this because foreign multinationals create almost one in ten jobs in Ireland and a number of jobs indirectly." With Ireland and Apple both set to appeal, the legal battles could go on for years. Some lawyers argue that Brussels will struggle to provide a legal basis for its ruling. Dublin may yet succeed in turning down its 13 billion euro windfall.