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European Commission

Algirdas Šemeta

Commissioner responsible for Taxation and Customs Union, Audit and Anti-fraud

STATEMENT ON ENHANCED COOPERATION DECISION ON FINANCIAL TRANSACTION TAX

Commission meeting / Strasbourg, 23 October 2012

Over the past few weeks, I have received a steady stream of letters from various Member States, requesting enhanced cooperation on an EU financial transactions tax.

These Member States are keen to move ahead with a common FTT, on the basis of what I proposed last year.

And I applaud this.

Because I firmly believe that an EU FTT has great benefits to offer, even if applied by less than 27 Member States.

And I also believe that now is the right moment to move ahead with it.

Because in difficult times, fairness matters.

And the FTT is the epitome of a fair tax.

It will also help to deter the casino-type trading we've seen too much of, and re-focus the financial sector more on supporting the real economy.

Importantly too, a common FTT – even if applied by less than the full 27 Member States – will reduce the fragmentation of the Single Market.

It will replace a patchwork of different national approaches to taxing the financial sector with a harmonised system. And in doing so, will make life easier for operators throughout the EU.

I would like to thank Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain for their letters.

That enabled the Commission to start playing its part in the process.

Other letters will be very welcome, and I am optimistic that they will come.

On our side, we moved swiftly in analysing the requests, just as we promised to. We checked that the requirements for enhanced cooperation, set out in the Treaties, are met.

And today, we have proposed that this group of willing Member States should be allowed to move forward with a common FTT.

So it is now for the Member States and the European Parliament to act.

The sooner they agree to today's draft Decision, the sooner the enhanced cooperation group can move ahead, as they are keen to do.

There is no good reason to delay.

Those who want the fairer taxation, substantial income and greater stability that a common FTT offers, should be allowed to have it.


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