Margrethe Vestager says special tax treatment for a specific company is as much a benefit as handing the firm a bundle of cash and amounts to illegal state aid

Europe’s competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has defended her €13bn (£11bn) ruling against Apple’s Irish tax affairs, hitting back at claims made by a predecessor that EU state aid laws should not be used to fight sweetheart tax deals.

Vestager was forced to spell out the rationale for the Apple ruling following comments by Neelie Kroes, who said on Thursday that EU member states have a sovereign right to determine their own tax laws. Kroes served as European competition commissioner between 2004 and 2010.

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