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Ireland To Oversee FTT Implementation

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

22 January 2013

The European Council of Economic and Financial Affairs (Ecofin) is to authorize European Union (EU) member states to push ahead with plans for a financial transactions tax (FTT) during the Irish Presidency of the EU.

Ecofin is set to meet this week, and the gathering will be the first under the presidency of Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Ireland will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the next six months.

According to a joint statement released following a meeting of French and Irish finance officials, the Council will take a decision to authorize member states to move ahead under enhanced cooperation in the area of a FTT. Enhanced cooperation offers a system whereby EU member states wishing to work more closely together can do so, while respecting the legal framework of the Union. In principle, at least nine states must be involved in enhanced cooperation, but it remains open to any state that wishes to participate.

The European Commission gave the go ahead for enhanced cooperation on the FTT in October last year, based on a request by eleven member states. Ireland was not, however, one of this group, which is comprised as follows: Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia. The Commission said at the time that the states that wish to apply an EU FTT through enhanced cooperation should be allowed to do so. The European Parliament backed the use of enhanced cooperation in December.

Also agreed at the meeting was the need to make progress on the economic and taxation agenda during the Irish Presidency. Attending were Noonan, his French counterpart Pierre Moscovici and Brendan Howlin, Ireland's Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. The joint release further states that all parties share the goal of completing the implementation of the EU banking union as soon as possible and are ready to work together to strengthen the financial regulation at the European level.

TAGS: tax | economics | European Commission | Belgium | Ireland | Portugal | Slovenia | banking | tobin tax | Estonia | Slovakia | Austria | France | Germany | Greece | Italy | Spain | European Union (EU) | Europe

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