Thursday

23rd Mar 2017

Danish minister says financial tax would cost jobs

  • Denmark does not support the financial transactions tax, says minister Margrethe Vestager (Photo: Valentina Pop)

Denmark has come out against the creation of an EU financial transactions tax, saying it would hamper growth and cost "hundreds of thousands of jobs."

The country's economy minister Margrethe Vestager - who, as part of the Danish EU presidency, currently chairs the regular meetings of EU finance ministers (Ecofin) - told press in Copenhagen on Tuesday (10 January): "We would be very reluctant in promoting something that minimises growth and slashes jobs, particularly now during the crisis."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She noted that despite France's public pledges to fast-track the tax, no EU country has formally asked to speed up procedure.

"It is in the normal legislative machinery at the moment, the proposal was first put on the table at Ecofin a few weeks ago and all attitudes were present around the table."

She added that the tax proposal is "not very robust" because even the European Commission, which backs the levy, has estimated it would cost the EU 1.7 percent in lost GDP and "hundreds of thousands of jobs" due to financial companies relocating outside the Union.

Using more colourful language, Denmark's former foreign minister Lene Espersen - currently a Conservative member of the parliament's EU affairs committee - said in a separate briefing the same day the tax idea is "bullshit."

"Why don't they [pro-tax advocates] start with the Cayman Islands and then come and talk to us? What we need is economic growth," she quipped, in reference to the British overseas territory and tax haven.

French leader Nicolas Sarkozy has made the tax a pet project of his in the run-up to presidential elections in March. He has even promised to impose the new levy unilaterally in France if other EU countries do not follow suit despite protests from Paris' financial sector.

Britain, Sweden and Malta, like Denmark, openly oppose the project.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given Sarkozy support for the idea, but acknowledged her coalition is split on the issue. She is facing growing opposition from her junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), which says it goes against the pro-business coalition pact.

"Coalition agreements can only be changed together and not by one side alone," Hermann Otto Solms, an FDP finance expert, told Handelsblatt on Tuesday.

For his part, Frank Scheffler, another FDP member dealing with financial matters, issued an ultimatum. "I clearly warn the chancellor against going further in this direction. She is bound to keep to the relevant agreements, otherwise we as the FDP will no longer have to keep to the arrangements,” he told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung.

Merkel after meeting with Sarkozy on Monday declined to say if Germany would follow a French-only tax with a German national levy, saying only: "Personally, I'm in favor of thinking about such a tax in the eurozone."

Franco-German 'growth' plan looks to EU funds and taxes

A six-point plan drafted by France and Germany suggests corporate tax 'co-ordination', an EU financial transactions tax and the re-deployment of EU funds in troubled countries as ways to spur growth and jobs.

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

News in Brief

  1. Russia invites EU diplomats to occupied Crimea
  2. UK parliament in lockdown after reported attack
  3. Brussels attacks remembered with minute of silence and noise
  4. Magnitsky's lawyer injured near Moscow
  5. Trump to travel to Brussels on 25 May for Nato summit
  6. Polish defence minister accuses Tusk of treason
  7. Fillon slips in polls as new allegations emerge
  8. Brexit summit for EU-27 will be on 29 April

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Advertisements
  2. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  3. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  4. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  6. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  7. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  8. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  9. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change
  10. Malta EU 2017Consumer Protection Laws to Be Strengthened by EU-Wide Cooperation
  11. European Free AllianceSupporting Artur Mas: Democracy and Freedom Cannot Be Convicted
  12. UNICEFSyria Conflict 6 Years On: Children's Suffering at Its Worst

Latest News

  1. EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times
  2. Terror attack shuts down UK parliament
  3. Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum
  4. La présidentielle française sous cyber-alerte maximale
  5. EU doing well in global energy ranking
  6. Child migrants endure 'abysmal conditions'
  7. French socialist woos Europe with new vision
  8. EU to Macedonia: 'Stop playing with fire'