French finance minister Christine Lagarde says France has put plans for changes in the EU system of taxing company profits on hold.

This comes after Irish voters rejected the Lisbon treaty last week. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ms Lagarde said that the proposals for a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB) were 'on the agenda, but we are not pushing it'.

The CCTB would create a pan-European method of calculating how much tax companies should pay.

Ms Lagarde's remarks come just two days after the EU's tax commissioner said he would still present proposals on the issue this year despite Ireland's Lisbon rejection. Mr Kovacs said an impact assessment on the proposal was being finalised.

Many cross-border companies would welcome a simpler way of calculating taxes, but Ireland has argued that such a move would be the first step towards imposing harmonised corporate tax rates on EU states. Ireland's low corporate tax rate of 12.5% is seen as having made a significant contribution to the economy's strong growth of recent years.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) has welcomed the French comments, with its director of taxation Brian Keegan saying they reflect a growing realisation across Europe that CCCTB 'could do more harm than good to the European economy overall'.

ICAI has been campaigning for several years against the CCCTB, on the basis that it would be very complex and costly for companies, with its disadvantages far outweighing any benefits it might bring.