In The EU Countries make important progress on contested financial tax

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain have been negotiating the tax for nearly three years.

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People carry EU flags during a March for Europe protest against the Brexit vote in London in September 2016 play

People carry EU flags during a March for Europe protest against the Brexit vote in London in September 2016

(AFP)
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A group of EU member states has made “very important progress” towards hashing out a controversial tax on financial transactions, a top EU official said on Tuesday, with the project beset by repeated delays.

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain have been negotiating the tax for nearly three years.

They had at one point planned to start implementing it this year. The finance ministers met to evaluate technical progress made since June.

Austrian Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling had warned that they should aim for an agreement by September or else give up entirely.

However, the ministers made “very important progress” on Monday, EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the following morning in Luxembourg.

They agreed on the four important measures that will form the core engine of such a tax. Hopefully, in the weeks to come, we will be capable of submitting this draft to the ministers so that they can go to the finish line.

This is, I think, something that is expected by a lot of people who would like to see the financial sector contribute to the financing of some important public goods,” he said.

Moscovici said that his office would now prepare draft legislation.

The idea of introducing a financial transaction tax in the EU has long been controversial and could not find support among all 28 member states.

The 10 countries are using a go-it-alone EU approach known as enhanced cooperation.

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