• Germany's news in English
 

Germany breaks finance tax deadlock

Published: 31 Mar 2012 14:50 GMT+02:00

Ministers effectively agreed to park a European Commission proposal for a wide-ranging EU-wide levy on the financial sector and consider Berlin's plan to tax trades on company stocks and shares.

In a letter to his colleagues, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble acknowledged that his wish to see a wide-ranging tax introduced was unlikely in the face of British opposition and instead proposed "an intermediate step."

“This would entail a tax payable on all transactions involving shares of corporations listed on a stock exchange, with the tax levied according to the place where the corporation has its registered office," said Schäuble.

Such a move would be based on a tax already in force in Britain – stamp duty – added the Berlin proposal, making it harder for London to block.

The suggestion won broad approval, with French Finance Minister Francois Baroin deeming it "wise" and stressing that "we have to move forward on this issue."

The finance minister of Sweden, which along with Britain, has been sceptical over a broad financial transaction tax, also showed a willingness to compromise.

"We have some differences of opinion," admitted Anders Borg as he briefed reporters after the meeting. "We will try to work constructively to find something that is common ground for the whole of the EU."

He stressed that the Commission's proposal, which seeks to tax not only trading in company shares but also complex financial instruments like derivatives, should be taken off the table.

"It's problematic for the recovery, for households and for corporates," said Borg.

Danish Finance Minister Margrethe Vestager, who hosted the meeting as Denmark holds the rotating EU presidency, said ministers would focus "primarily on alternatives, because that's where you find the most constructive atmosphere."

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Schäuble said that experts would come together to thrash out the remaining issues. "We made good progress," he said.

"We agreed that if we maybe don't reach the perfect solution of a broad financial transaction tax at a European level, because we need a unanimous decision for that, we should ... intensively look at a working group," he added.

"It is an important step in the right direction."

The tax aims to make the financial services industry pay its way in the future after banks especially benefited heavily from taxpayer bailouts when the mortgage meltdown in the United States sparked the 2008 global financial crisis.

The Commission's proposal from September has been strongly supported by nine countries, including European power couple France and Germany.

But Britain, home to 80 percent of Europe's finance industry, has warned that it would prompt investors to flee the 27-nation bloc.

Despite the opposition, Baroin stressed the "determination" of the nine countries backing the introduction of a broader tax, describing it as "an essential political project for us."

The German proposal insisted: "Negotiations on the Commission's proposal for a common system of financial transactions tax (FTT) should not be abandoned or postponed."

“I have not given up on the FTT," stressed Schäuble.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:04 March 31, 2012 by Bavaria Mike
This will probably turn into outsourcing jobs and work, like the demise of the USA. I do agree a very small tax should be induced dealing with the EU as it is also an insurance package for international trade. Some countries not in the EU tend to lose truck loads of shipments somehow.
22:44 March 31, 2012 by cheeba
so, under this plan do the British pay 80% of it with 2/3 of the money going to Brussels, as "own resources"? No wonder they hate the EU so much.
09:06 April 1, 2012 by snowey
The British, rightly will continue to say No so this is just hot air.
Today's headlines
Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op
Photo: DPA

Intersex person sues clinic for unncessary op

Intersex person Michaela Raab is suing doctors in a Nuremberg court, who she said operated on her genitals and put her through female hormone therapy without having told her she was genetically a man. READ  

Greece bailout
Greece bailout passes with massive majority
Wolfgang Schäuble addressing the Bundestag on Friday. Photo: DPA

Greece bailout passes with massive majority

UPDATE:German MPs voted 542-32 in favour of extending Greece's bailout programme on Friday. READ  

German soars into ski jump top spot
Photo: DPA

German soars into ski jump top spot

Germany is a "Weltmeister" again, this time in ski-jumping. Severin Freund's 134-metre vertical jumps, and new world distance record of nearly 136 metres, ended the nearly decade-and-a-half wait for German ski jump fans starved for gold. READ  

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'
Muslims at prayer in Frankfurt's Abubakr Mosque. Photo: DPA

Muslim Council says Jewish fears 'justified'

After the president of the Central Council of Jews warned against anti-Semitism in Muslim areas of German cities, his Muslim opposite number agreed that 'these fears are justified”. READ  

Consumer rights office slams Facebook
Photo: DPA

Consumer rights office slams Facebook

The Federation of Consumer Protection Offices (vzbv) has warned Facebook over legal breaches in its terms and conditions, saying that its claim on the homepage that “Facebook is free and always will be” is misleading. READ  

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's "Minister of Awesome". Photo: DPA

Spoof hails Varoufakis: puts 'hell' in 'Hellenica'

An offering that rehabilitates the much-maligned German sense of humour is rocking the internet with a searing spoof metal tribute to Greece's formidable new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, filled with painful moments of self-mockery. READ  

This Week in History
Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity
Franz Kafka. Photo: DPA

Kafka's Metamorphosis: 100 years of perplexity

100 years ago, Franz Kafka published The Metamorphosis, now seen as one of the most significant works of 20th century German literature. The Local speaks to the academic who has reinterpreted it for a modern audience. READ  

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders
Niels H. in court. The five murder counts against the former nurse may just be the start. Photo: DPA

Nurse jailed for life for serial patient murders

A male nurse who injected patients with overdoses of heart medication for the thrill of resuscitating them was on Thursday sentenced to life imprisonment on five counts of murder. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,430
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd