Monday

26th Jun 2017

Ministers near deal on 'step-by-step' transactions tax

  • Schaueble - transactions tax can be implemented 'step-by-step' from 2016 (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Ministers anxious to bring in a tax on financial transactions are hoping to secure a political deal introducing a levy in 2016, in talks planned on Tuesday (6 May).

A document outlining plans for the tax's gradual introduction in 2016 is expected to be presented to the rest of the EU's 28 finance ministers later today, Reuters reports.

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.

“We know that we can only proceed step by step,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in Brussels on Monday. “The possibilities, the situations and the interests of the individual participating states are so different that only a limited taxation of shares and some derivatives is possible in a first step.”

"I want a political commitment that we jointly want this financial transaction tax and which timeframe we envision for it," said Austria's Michael Spindelegger. "Whether we will achieve that, we'll see."

Other EU countries, with the UK being the most vocal critic of the tax plan, have complained that the so-called "residence" and "issuance" principle in the proposed bill means that traders operating outside the FTT-11 would still be liable to pay the levy.

The UK, which has the largest financial services sector in the EU, says that it could be hit by the tax to the tune of £5 billion per year (€6 billion) as a result.

The proposal currently on the table includes a 0.1 percent levy on bonds and shares and 0.01 percent on derivative products.

France and Germany, together with nine other eurozone countries, have led support for the tax, often called the 'Robin Hood tax' by supporters, and want to have a political agreement for its introduction before the European elections later this month.

Talks between EU politicians on the possible merits and structure of a transactions tax have been a regular feature during the 2009-14 legislative term. The FTT-11 agreed to proceed with a tax using the EU's "enhanced co-operation" procedure in February 2013 after it became clear that a pan-EU regime would be vetoed by several countries.

Although supporters of a transactions tax see it as a way to make the financial sector pay towards the costs caused by the 2008-9 financial crisis and to curb speculation, in reality, the tax is more about political symbolism.

The tax rates proposed are too low to curb market behaviour, while the €30-35 billion in revenue which the European Commission estimates would be raised each year across the 11 countries involved, would be much lower than campaigners had hoped for.

Ministers from the eleven countries which support plans to establish the tax met in Brussels on Monday following a gathering of the 18 finance ministers of countries in the eurozone.

As expected, Portugal announced that it would not be requesting a temporary credit line or any further financial help when its three year €78 billion bailout programme concludes this month.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit