–Adds Detail On Countries Supporting The Proposal

LUXEMBOURG (MNI) – Eleven EU countries on Tuesday signaled their
intent to push ahead with plans to introduce a tax on financial

A group of seven countries – France, Germany, Belgium, Austria,
Greece, Portugal and Slovenia – formally put forward a joint letter to
the European Commission outlining their intention to move forward with a
financial transaction tax based on the Commission’s original proposal.
Four other countries – Italy, Spain, Slovakia, and Estonia – orally
indicated their support.

Under EU rules, a subset of the union’s members can go ahead with
such legislation if a minimum of nine countries sign a letter spelling
out their intentions to the Commission.

At least two of the four countries that expressed their support for
a financial transaction tax orally must now put forward their intention
formally in writing for work on the proposal to proceed.

The European Parliament and all the EU’s finance ministers would
also need to give their blessing in order for the plans to be approved.

While the UK, which has its own form of tax on share trading, has
said it would not stand in the way of other EU countries pursuing a
common system, Dutch Finance Minister Jan Kees de Jager, said that the
Netherlands was “a little bit reluctant towards the introduction of it
in other countries.”

Polish finance minister Jacek Rostowski said that he thought a levy
on banks was a better way of raising additional taxes from the financial
sector and that he would like the Commission to analyse if the break
away group’s plans would have any “secondary affects” for other EU

Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands last June shot down the
Commission’s plan to tax on the basis of residency most stock and bond
trades at a minimum rate of 0.1%, and derivative trades at a minimum
rate of 0.01%, arguing that the plan would harm the EU’s standing as a
financial centre because other international finance hubs such as the US
and Japan opposed the idea.

The EU’s 27 finance ministers largely avoided discussing Brussels’
plan to give the European Central Bank ultimate supervisory authority
over the Eurozone’s 6,000 banks after informal talks in Cyprus last
month revealed deep divisions over core elements of the proposal,
including its scope and timetable. EU leaders would pick up on the issue
at their summit later this month, EU officials said.

–Brussels Newsroom, +324-952-28374; pkoh@mni-news.com
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