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European Parliament approves contested financial tax

European Parliament approves contested financial tax

City of London - Photo by David Iliff

(BRUSSELS) - The European parliament adopted by a strong majority Wednesday proposals on a French-inspired financial transaction tax (FTT) which has been bitterly opposed by Britain.

The resolution in favour of the FTT, approved with 487 votes in favour, 152 against and 46 abstentions, calls for the implementation of the tax by the beginning of 2015 "even if only some member states opt for it."

The vote is likely to irritate Prime Minister David Cameron as he joins a European Union summit later Wednesday to discuss how to spur growth across crisis-hit Europe. Britain says the tax would undermine London as a global financial centre.

Nine countries have come out in favour, however -- Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

"The FTT is an integral part of an exit from crisis," said parliamentary rapporteur Anni Podimata, a Greek Socialist. "It will bring a fairer distribution of the weight of the crisis."

"This FTT will not lead to relocation outside the EU because the cost of this is higher than paying the tax," she added.

Parliament approved the tax rates proposed by the Commission, 0.1 percent for transactions of shares and bonds, and 0.01 percent for derivatives.

Pressure group Oxfam said that EU leaders "cannot afford to ignore this overwhelming vote" and that cash raised should be "used to help poor people at home and abroad hit by the economic crisis and to combat climate change."

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text will be available here (click on 25.05.2012)

Legislative Observatory file


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