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The European Union's (EU's) state aid rules do not prevent governments from applying a low tax rate to every company, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has said.
In a speech on competition at a US antitrust enforcement symposium, Vestager said that member states must not "select just a few favored businesses, and give them special treatment which their rivals can't get."
She added that when the Commission requests that governments reclaim "unpaid taxes" following an investigation, "all we're doing is ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity."
Vestager made the comments after the Commission ordered the Irish Government to recoup EUR13bn (USD14.6bn), plus interest, from Apple. The Commission has also launched an in-depth state aid investigation into Luxembourg's treatment of the French utility company Engie.
Vestager later told a press conference that state aid rules "ensure that companies can compete on equal terms on what we call our single market," and that "companies operating in the European single market are well aware of the rules."
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