Controversial proposals on corporate tax, which the European Commission will launch next week, are "not about tax rates, they are about a common consolidate tax base," EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has said.

Mr Hogan was before the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee where he was asked about taxation.

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Haughey asked the commissioner to comment on the EC proposals, while Fine Gael TD Colm Brophy claimed the "biggest single challenge to this country is the politicisation of the commission in terms of straying into tax harmonisation”.

He said with regards to the recent ruling on Apple, this amounted to the commission "straying into a national issue".

In August, the European Commission concluded that Ireland granted undue tax benefits of up to €13bn to the tech giant.

The commission said "selective treatment" allowed Apple to pay a tax rate of 1% on European Union profits in 2003 down to 0.005% in 2014.

The findings were a result of the culmination of a three-year investigation by Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager into tax arrangements for Apple, dating back 25 years.

However, Commissioner Hogan said of the Apple ruling that "there is nothing new in the way the commission conducted its investigation into tax rulings.

"The decision has nothing to do with tax rates or tax law in Ireland.

"The decision made by Commissioner Vestager is to do with the boundaries of aggressive tax planning that are being pushed out that constitute State aid. That is the view of the commission and it resulted from the information supplied by Apple itself and from the hearings in the United States", he told the committee.

He said that a company whose effective tax rate varies from 1% to 0.005% of its profits "should not be surprised if this becomes an issue”.

The commissioner said that the tax rulings of 1992 and 1997 should have alerted authorities everywhere.

He argued that it is “not tax rates or about interfering with member state's tax rates, it’s all about taxation used for the purposes of constituting a state aid where treatment of this particular company and the particular rules of engagement in relation to taxation planning by this company wasn't available to all of the rest of the companies in Ireland.”