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Faymann Seeks FTT Education Fund

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

11 October 2012

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has recently called for part of the revenues of the tax on financial transactions to flow to a fund for education within the European Union (EU) budget.

The move follows a recent announcement from the European Commission that a breakthrough was made in the latest meeting of European Union finance ministers that will allow a financial transactions tax (FTT) to be rolled out on the basis of enhanced cooperation.

Underlining that this is a first step in the right direction, which will enable further steps to be made subsequently, ideally the levying of a financial transaction tax at global level, Faymann proposed that the tax be used to realize investments and also to create an education fund within the EU budget to guarantee training for young people, thereby combating high levels of youth unemployment.

Highlighting his optimism that the levy will now be implemented in a matter of weeks, French President Hollande has also proposed using the product of the FTT for employment, for investment, for training, in particular for youth training, and for providing qualifications to young people.

Algirdas Semeta, European Commission for Taxation, confirmed on October 9 that 11 eurozone countries have pledged their support for an FTT, enough member states to allow the Commission to move ahead with proposals it outlined in September last year for a 0.1% tax on shares and bonds, and 0.01% rate on other products.

According to Semeta, commitment letters have already been received from Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Portugal and Greece, while "clear assurances" were given during the meeting that Italy, Spain, Estonia and Slovakia will send theirs very soon.

Austrian Finance Minister Maria Fekter welcomed the green light for the financial transactions tax, confirming that the exact details of the levy are to be fleshed out by the end of the year.

Underscoring the great importance of the tax, which will have both a “stabilizing effect” on the financial markets and will serve to generate additional revenues with which to reduce the debt mountain, Fekter insisted that the FTT ensures that the financial sector “shoulders” the burden of the crisis.

The latest decision is an important step towards a stable Europe, Fekter concluded.

TAGS: tax | investment | European Commission | training | budget | tobin tax | education | unemployment | Austria | France | European Union (EU) | Europe

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