• Germany's news in English
 

Germany breaks finance tax deadlock

The Local · 31 Mar 2012, 14:50

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
Whiff of foul play in Cologne mayoral election
An electoral poster next to Cologne Cathedral. Photo: DPA

Whiff of foul play in Cologne mayoral election

13 hours ago

Did the Social Democratic Party (SPD) deliberately skew voting slips in Cologne's mayoral elections to hand their candidate an advantage?

Refugee crisis
Five ways you can help refugees in Germany
Woman bring clothing donations to a German Red Cross station in Heidenau, scene of anti-refugee demonstrations last weekend. Photo: DPA

Five ways you can help refugees in Germany

11 hours ago

The Local's pointers for how to get started if you're interested in donating your money, unwanted possessions, time or skills to help refugees in Germany.

FC Bayern takes refugee kids under its wing
Players will walk into the Allianz Arena hand-in-hand with young refugees on September 12th. Photo: DPA

FC Bayern takes refugee kids under its wing

10 hours ago

FC Bayern Munich said on Thursday that it would help young refugees learn German and play football and donate €1m of the proceeds from an upcoming friendly match.

Berlin hotel extends beds for basketball giants
Dirk Nowitzki (r) - too tall for a normal hotel bed. Photo: DPA

Berlin hotel extends beds for basketball giants

10 hours ago

The Berlin hotel hosting the international basketball teams playing in the 2015 European championships matches here have extended their beds to 2.50 metres in order to accomodate the giant players.

Migrant crisis
Hungary says refugees are 'German problem'
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (l) and refugees boarding a train at Budapest's Keleti station. Photos: DPA

Hungary says refugees are 'German problem'

14 hours ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted Thursday the migrant crisis was a German problem, not a European one as he defended his government's handling of thousands of refugees flooding into his country.

Banks jack up ATM fees for non-customers
Photo: DPA

Banks jack up ATM fees for non-customers

15 hours ago

Germany's big private banks are increasing fees for customers at other financial institutions to withdraw cash from their ATMs, making ordinary people pay the price for a bankers' spat.

Berlin mayor christens brand-new U-Bahn trains
Berlin Mayor Michael Müller smashes a bottle of Berliner Weisse beer against the metal skin of a new U-Bahn train to christen it. Photo: DPA

Berlin mayor christens brand-new U-Bahn trains

17 hours ago

The first of an all-new model of Berlin U-Bahn trains was christened on Wednesday evening by city mayor Michael Müller in a typically Berlin ceremony.

Migrant crisis
Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly
A man leads migrants in a chant in front of police lines at Budapest's Keleti railway station on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly

17 hours ago

Germany, France and Italy called for an overhaul of laws on the right of asylum and a fairer distribution of migrants throughout the European Union, Italy's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The Local List
7 ways Germans get English totally wrong
Don't let their confidence fool you: Germans aren't always the best at English. Photo: DPA.

7 ways Germans get English totally wrong

1 day ago

As much as English-speakers might feel insecure about their Deutsch skills when faced with Germans' comparatively widespread grasp of English, Germans themselves often mess up English - in some pretty hilarious ways.

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger at a press conference earlier this week. Photo: DPA

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees

1 day ago

Germany's World Cup-winning footballers have condemned xenophobic attacks on the thousands of foreigners pouring into their country and led calls to help the refugees amidst the ongoing crisis.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
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

6,888
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd