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Austria Backs Franco-German FTT Initiative

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

05 October 2012

Austria’s Finance Minister Maria Fekter has recently submitted a letter to the European Commission stating that Austria supports plans for the introduction of a financial transactions tax within the framework of enhanced cooperation in Europe.

The latest announcement from the Austrian Chancellery follows hot on the heels of a statement from the German Finance Ministry explaining that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and his French counterpart Pierre Moscovici have submitted a joint letter to the European Commission requesting that there be a group push forward with plans for the introduction of a tax on financial transactions under the procedures for enhanced cooperation.

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann insisted that a financial transactions tax is not only important for Austria but also for Europe, in particular for Southern Europe, an area currently plagued by strikes and at times violent confrontations. Therefore it is important to generate additional fiscal resources in order to be able to invest again, Faymann added. Faymann underlined his confidence that other countries would join Austria in backing the Franco-German plans.

Commenting on the Austrian government’s plans to back the joint initiative spearheaded by France and Germany, Fekter stressed that under enhanced cooperation rules at least nine member states can implement legislation to tax financial transactions despite resistance from other member states.

Defending the plans, Fekter explained: “The EU-level tax on financial transactions makes sense from a macro-economic perspective and would represent a substantial contribution by the financial sector towards mastering the consequences of the global financial crisis.”

The minister continued: “Our proposal is intended to accelerate the speed by which these measures are brought forward, and to show that there are many who will be persevering in favour of these demands.”

Fekter concluded: “Together with Germany and France, Austria’s letter to the Commission has once again put this matter on the agenda. We will be raising the matter again at the next Ecofin meeting on October 9; however, Austria’s support for this measure is unequivocal”.

According to Faymann, the proposal would yield EUR500m (USD645m) a year for the country’s budget. If applied at European Union level, namely in all twenty-seven EU member states, the levy would generate a total of EUR57bn, the Chancellor said.

TAGS: tax | investment | European Commission | capital markets | budget | tobin tax | Austria | Europe

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