• 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
Merkel summons US envoy over spy claims
Photo: DPA

Merkel summons US envoy over spy claims

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel's office Thursday asked the US ambassador to discuss new allegations about NSA spying, a German government source said. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
Photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 101I-490-3270-06A/Wikimedia Commons

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

Google game slammed over use of death camps
Dachau concentration camp. Photo: DPA

Google game slammed over use of death camps

News that Google is using the sites of Nazi concentration camps as elements in an "augmented reality" project - an online game linked to the real world - has caused extreme upset to Holocaust survivors' organizations. READ  

Capturing Berlin with an outsider's eye
A Soviet Cosmonaut mosaic in Potsdam. Photo: Digital Cosmonaut

Capturing Berlin with an outsider's eye

It took a German who spent much of his early life abroad to document some of the hidden, abandoned, or forgotten-about corners of Berlin in English. The Local meets "Digital Cosmonaut", one of Berlin's best-loved bloggers. READ  

Greek President cancels Berlin visit
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos(l) with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Photo: DPA

Greek President cancels Berlin visit

Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of Greece, has cancelled plans to visit Berlin next Tuesday, German media reported on Thursday. READ  

Guardiola: Schweini must decide on future
Photo: DPA

Guardiola: Schweini must decide on future

UPDATE: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said Thursday that Bastian Schweinsteiger holds his future in his own hands amidst reports linking the Germany captain to Manchester United. READ  

Drug-driving trucker kills two police officers
The accident happened on the Autobahn near Dortmund. Photo: DPA

Drug-driving trucker kills two police officers

A truck driver crashed his vehicle into a stationary police car on the Autobahn in North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday, killing the two officers inside. READ  

Watchdog escapes breast implant fine
A breast augmentation operation in progress. Photo: DPA

Watchdog escapes breast implant fine

A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body the Technische Überwachungsverein (TÜV) had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were later found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. READ  

Govt 'breaking promises' with new CO2 deal
The RWE brown coal plant in Niederaussem. Photo: DPA

Govt 'breaking promises' with new CO2 deal

Germany's governing coalition came to a major new agreement on carbon emissions on Wednesday evening. But the reported deal has left environmentalists feeling betrayed. READ  

Thais send kidnapper to face Munich justice
A photo used by police to track alleged kidnapper Mario S. Photo: DPA

Thais send kidnapper to face Munich justice

Thai authorities will deliver a man to Germany later this week to stand trial on accusations of kidnapping the wife of a Bavarian banker to finance his lavish lifestyle abroad. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
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

6,912
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd