When the European Union’s finance ministers met in Copenhagen on 30 March they gave the clearest indication yet of what has been clear to most observers for months: that the 27 member states cannot agree a tax on financial transactions. A tax on share deals modelled on the UK’s stamp duty might be possible, but a wider tax on financial trades is off the agenda for the foreseeable future. The German finance ministry, one of the strongest supporters of the tax, admitted as much at the meeting, calling for work to focus on a tax on share transactions.
Since June 2011, when the European Commission announced it would propose an FTT, it had been obvious that the plan would not fly…
Apparently heedless that the object was immoveable, JosÃ© Manuel Barroso, the Commission president, last week made yet another attempt to exert irresistible force in support of the tax. He told members of national parliaments and the European Parliament that the revenue raised by the tax would allow member states a cut of up to 50% in their contributions to funding the EU.
Perhaps Barroso’s intransigence is inspired by the unfortunate fact that the FTT proposal was central to the Commission’s plans for financing the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2014 to 2020. Removing the idea of an EU-wide tax from the agenda leaves a big hole in Barroso’s plans for financing the MFF.