Tobin tax - European negotiators analyse the effects of the Tobin tax

Tuesday, 21 February 2017 13:16
European ministers who wish to implement the Tobin tax met today. European ministers who wish to implement the Tobin tax met today. © Belga
The Finance Minister, Johan Van Overtveldt, (of the New Flemish Alliance) and his counterparts from nine EU member states, wish to implement a European tax on financial transactions.
This would take the form of an FTT or Tobin tax.

They met today to review the situation. At the end of March, they will meet again to analyse the impact of such a tax on the real economy and pension funds.

The tax on financial transactions, which anticipates a minimum levy upon each transaction, has been subject to negotiation by ten European countries since 2013. The current stated aim anticipates a tax of 0.1% on equity and bond instruments and 0.01% on derivatives. Member states do not, however, completely agree as to the terms of such a tax.

The Belgian Minister said that Tuesday's meeting took place within a constructive atmosphere.

He stressed, “A number of technical points were considered, amongst others the exemption for pension funds. The protection of such funds features in the government’s federal agreement. The protection of individuals' pensions is a very important consideration for me.”

Full exemption for such funds was touched upon. One possibility being considered is that an exemption clause is offered to some countries. Mr Van Overtveldt commented, “Several states requested that participating member states remain attentive to the current volatile international climate owing to, amongst other factors, Brexit and possible new financial regulations in the U.S.”

As alluded to above, the Minister and his German, French, Austrian, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, Slovenian and Slovakian counterparts will consider the Tobin tax again at the end of March. In the meantime, a technical analysis of the effects upon the real economy and pension funds will be conducted.

Christopher Vincent
The Brussels Times
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