News Column

EU Finance Ministers make progress on financial transaction tax

May 7, 2014

EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs , Algirdas Semeta

BRUSSELS, May 6 (KUNA) -- EU Finance Ministers Tuesday ended their one-day meeting after expressing hope that an agreement on the controversial Financial Transaction Tax, FTT, could bereached by 2016.

"Today, the participating (11) Member States have reiterated their commitment to the FTT and laid down their roadmap for its implementation. This is a welcome signal. Of course, there is still quite a road to travel before the FTT is in place," EU Commissioner for Taxation and Customs, Algirdas Semeta, told a press conference, after the meeting.

"The participating Member States need to continue to invest wholeheartedly in this file to make it law within the timeframe foreseen. But, every step forward on the Financial Transaction Tax is of significance," he added.

France and Germany, together with nine other eurozone members, are in favour of FTT in Europe and want to have a political agreement before the European elections later this month.

They argue that the tax is needed to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis in Europe.

Britain, home to one of world's biggest financial markets in London, is strongly opposed to the FTT as harmful to business and counter-productive for investors.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said that if the tax affected other EU countries which have decided not to take join, "they are entitled to challenge that and we will challenge that." Meanwhile, Semeta welcomed today's adoption by the ministers of new law to harmonise and strengthen criminal law against euro-counterfeiting.

"Not only will this boost confidence in our common currency, by creating a stronger shield against counterfeiting. It will also help to protect honest businesses and citizens from ending up with fake money in their pockets," he said.

Since the euro was introduced in 2002, counterfeiting is estimated to have cost the EU at least 500 million euro.

Recent figures published by the European Commission show that a total of 175,900 fake euro coins were withdrawn from circulation last year. According to the latest figures from the European Central Bank, 353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn in the second half of 2013. (end)

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Source: Kuwait News Agency

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