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Press watch: ‘Germany secures breakthrough on EU transactions tax’

printer Mail

‘Eleven euro zone countries agreed on Tuesday to push ahead with a tax on their financial transactions, an initiative that several other EU nations oppose but which has been pushed hard by Germany and France. The breakthrough was a surprise to many EU diplomats who had thought Germany might fail to convince sufficient countries to join the plan, which has been in the works for two years.

‘After heavy diplomatic pressure from Berlin overnight, Spain and Italy agreed at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg that they would support the measure. Slovakia and Estonia said they would throw their weight behind it too.

‘That raised to 11 the number of EU countries prepared to push ahead with the proposal, exceeding the threshold of nine required under EU law to move ahead with legislation using a process called "enhanced cooperation". Once nine of the countries have formally notified the European Commission of their commitment in writing, the Commission will begin drafting the law …

‘Britain, home to the region's biggest trading centre, has a stamp duty of 0.5% on share trades, raising almost £3bn pounds in the financial year to April 2011. It will not join the scheme and has lobbied Cyprus to stay out as well.’

Reuters, 9 October 2012