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Donohoe vows to maintain Ireland’s low corporate tax rate as Eurogroup president

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has been elected as president of the group of eurozone finance ministers.

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Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe (Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland/PA)

Paschal Donohoe has pledged to continue to argue for Ireland’s low corporate tax rate as he takes over as president of Eurogroup.

Mr Donohoe was elected on Thursday to head the finance group, beating Luxembourg’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna and Spanish economy minister Nadia Calvino.

The announcement came in a tweet from incumbent Eurogroup President Mario Centeno, which said: “Congratulations to the new Eurogroup President” and contained a photo of Mr Donohoe.

Mr Donohoe, who is currently Ireland’s Finance Minister, said he will work with his counterparts to help steer the Eurozone through the deep recession predicted following the pandemic.

Ireland has three corporate tax rates, 12.5% on trading income, 25% for investment income and a 33% rate for capital gains.

Asked if he will fight to keep Ireland’s low corporate tax rate, he said: “Anybody who voted for me and who voted in the first round and second round, knew what Ireland’s position is on really key issues and they voted for me with knowledge of that.

“Our national position in relation to this matter continues to be very clear. During the campaign when I was asking for the vote of colleagues – they understood our national position on these matters.

“Every colleague that I engaged with had a national position on issues that mattered to them and that is how the European project works. We have issues that are really vital for Ireland and other colleagues have similar issues.

“What I will do is continue to find a balance between national interest here in Ireland that will not change and try to find an equilibrium that is right for Ireland and Europe.”

Mr Donohoe pledged to work to help to overcome the crisis facing the Eurozone following the pandemic.

He said: “I am very conscious that as this vote takes place, we do so in the shadows of two different crises, the aftermath of the crisis of the sovereign (debt) and the current challenge and crisis of the pandemic.

“As I begin my tenure as president of the Eurogroup, I am deeply conscious that the citizens of Europe are looking at where their national economies stand and the European economy.

“They have become concerned and fearful about the future of their jobs and their incomes.

“This is a challenge that I understand and members of the Eurogroup understand.

“During my tenure as president, I will be working closely with all members of the Eurogroup to look at how our shared currency can help to respond to these great challenges.

“As great and deep as the challenges are, I am confident that my colleagues in the Eurogroup and in Government have laid the foundations to overcome these challenges and prevail.

“The challenges are great but we will prevail and overcome them.”

Mr Donohoe will start his new role on Monday alongside his current role as Finance Minister.

PA