Austria and France moot new FTT tax proposal
In a move strongly opposed by the UK and Sweden, a new plan for a retooled financial transactions tax across the 11 members of the Eurozone has just been unveiled by Austria and France.
Talks on the EU FTT have been going on since the idea was first mooted by the European Commission in 2011, which would be applied uniformly across all 27 countries in the EU.
Financial transaction taxes are not new, with Britain introducing its own version as stamp duty on share purchases back in 1808. However, as London has grown to be one of the world's strongest financial sectors, the UK government fears driving businesses into the arms of countries where such taxes are not levied, such as Hong Kong or Singapore.
Until now discussions over an EU-wide implementation of the measure have been deadlocked, with countries being unable to agree on the transactions which would be taxed, and the level of taxation.
More than 40 countries currently levy some form of FTT, raising over €29 billion in taxes annually.
Austria and France have written a letter to the other EU members, suggesting that the taxes should be applied at a lower rate than previously proposed, but across a wider range of services.
Many EU countries are currently opposed to plans which will target transactions that are popular in those countries.
Austrian finance minister Hans-Jörg Schelling said: "This fresh direction would be based on the assumption that the tax should have the widest possible base and low rates".
France's finance minister Michael Sapin added that the tax would need to be carefully designed to ensure financial services industries did not move away to lower tax regimes such as Hong Kong or Singapore.