Variable geometry FTT
By Tanguy Verhoosel | Friday 22 June 2012
The Europe of variable geometry took on a new dimension, on 22 June in Luxembourg, where the 27 finance ministers killed the European Commission’s proposal to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) throughout the EU.
This does not mean that the matter has been tossed into the dustbin of history, though: a “significant number” of member states support the launch of enhanced cooperation on the FTT, concluded the Danish Presidency at the close of a policy debate, which once again brought to light deep divisions in the EU club. Given the expectations in the public opinion and the risk of fragmentation of the single market that would result from the implementation of national measures, “enhanced cooperation is better than drawing a blank,” acknowledged resignedly Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta.
Enhanced cooperation is all the more welcome because Austria, one of the nine states (with Germany, France, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Slovenia, Portugal and Poland) which clearly called (more or less in the case of Warsaw) for this pioneer group to be set up, held up a serious threat: if an agreement cannot be found on enhanced cooperation, the Austrian parliament will not ratify the treaty establishing the European Stability Mechanism.