A European Financial Transactions Tax is ‘highly unlikely' – Sir Graham Watson MEP - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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A European Financial Transactions Tax is ‘highly unlikely' – Sir Graham Watson MEP

Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Sir Graham Watson MEP speaking on Newsnight (Photo: PoliticsHome)A European financial transactions tax (FTT) is "highly unlikely", a senior Liberal Democrat MEP has said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy vows to press ahead with a tax on financial transactions in France to force the issue in Europe, despite concerns that a unilateral move would isolate the country and damage the French financial services industry, while Germany is standing firm that it should be imposed Europe-wide. As for the UK: David Cameron has repeatedly said he will block the idea come what may.

Obviously France should do this with others. But if France waits for the others to decide to tax finance, finance will never be taxed,” Mr Sarkozy has said. But appearing on BBC's Newsnight on Monday evening, Sir Graham Watson said that such a policy would only work on a global level.

"I think it is highly unlikely, not least because the UK and Sweden oppose it and it cannot happen without a unanimous vote. It might make sense if you could have a global agreement...but that is not going to happen."

In the same televised interview, Sir Graham added that there was recognition that the Eurozone countries needed "deeper fiscal integration" but that did not contradict the Prime Minister's veto.

"The idea of this is that if we get it right, it should be a limited treaty concentrated on making the Eurozone survive. I think what the Prime Minister did not want to see was other European countries going off and doing a raft of things between the 17 Eurozone countries. Nicolas Sarkozy wants this to be a wider thing. It is not accepting what we have already vetoed. It is recognising that the Eurozone countries need greater fiscal integration."

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