10 EU nations set to tax financial transactions

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Associated Press

Posted on May 6, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 10:36 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — A group of 10 European Union countries has agreed to introduce a financial transaction tax from 2016 onward, in an effort to curb speculation and claw back revenues after governments had to bail out banks.

The nations include economic heavyweights Germany, France, Italy and Spain. They will initially tax only the trading of shares and some derivatives. The countries announced the plan in a joint statement Tuesday on the sidelines of a meeting of the 28-nation bloc's finance ministers.

Slovenia previously pledged to introduce the tax — making it the 11th signatory — but its finance minister didn't sign on because his government resigned Monday.

European officials started pushing for the tax after the 2008-09 financial crisis. Britain is a leading opponent.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Austria's finance minister says 11 European Union countries have agreed to introduce a financial transaction tax from 2016 onward.

Michael Spindelegger says they will now work to overcome remaining practical hurdles to finalize the legislation by the end of this year.

The group — including Germany, France and Italy — is set to inform the 17 EU countries not participating at a finance ministers' meeting in Brussels Tuesday of the decision.

European officials started pushing for the tax following the 2008-09 financial crisis to curb speculation and claw back revenues after government bailouts of banks.

The levy's scope won't be as broad as supporters initially hoped, focusing on taxing stock and derivatives trading.

The EU estimates a broad levy could yield 30 billion euros ($42 billion) in annual tax revenues.

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