France, Finland discuss mooted financial tax
(PARIS) - French President Francois Hollande sought Tuesday to get Finland on board with a plan to tax financial transactions, during a visit by Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen.
"France and Germany have written to the (EU) Commission to push for more cooperation to introduce this tax as soon as nine countries support it," Hollande said after meeting the Finnish premier.
"We are almost there," Hollande added.
The Finnish premier continued to express reservations however, saying in a statement released in Helsinki: "I told President Hollande that the the financial transaction tax proposed by France was a sensitive subject in Finland.
"Even small measures related to this issue could lead to banking activities leaving Finland, and an increase in unemployment, among bank staff for example," he added.
On Monday, Finland's third biggest bank Sampo Pankki threatened to pull its brokerage business out of the country if a proposal to create a new financial transaction tax was put in place.
"We operate in 15 countries and we have the option to choose where we conduct our brokerage activities. We would certainly consider whether to move those operations out of Finland," Johanna Lamminen, head of bank Sampo Pankki, told YLE public broadcaster.
Sampo Pankki, a general service bank, is a unit of Danske Bank, a Danish group.
The proposed tax, which also has German backing, would place a 0.1 percent levy on transactions involving stocks and bonds, and one of 0.01 percent for other types of financial exchanges.
Backers estimate it could generate up to 57 billion euros ($74 billion) in revenues for the debt-laden European Union.
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