European Commissioner: Ireland is taking too long to recover unpaid Apple taxes

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager has criticized Ireland over the length of time it is taking to recover unpaid Apple taxes. In an interview with CNBC, the Danish politician complained that the Government is "taking too long" on the issue but is hopeful that the €13 billion will be retrieved from the Cupertino tech giant "very soon."

Vestager also dismissed concerns that the European Commission's August 2016 ruling that Ireland had granted Apple illegal tax benefits would harm future investment in Europe.

"I haven’t seen any evidence of that,” she said.

European Commission has levied a €13 billion (about $14.5 billion) back tax demand against Apple. The Europe’s anti-trust and consumer investigation agency has claimed that Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have attracted investment and jobs by helping big companies avoid tax in other countries, including EU members. The commission suspects Ireland was too lenient in rulings it gave to Apple and which helped the company shield tens of billions of dollars in profit from taxation. At 12.5%, Ireland’s corporate tax rate beats the U.S. rate of 35%. However, participating companies don’t pay that 12.5% under the double Irish structure.

CEO Tim Cook has branded the European Commission ruling “total political crap.” Apple’s CEO also suggested the "retroactive" tax bill was an attempt by the EU to grab taxes owed to the U.S. treasury and harmonize tax rates across the 28-nation bloc.