|Anni Podimata - Common system for taxing financial transactions (EN)|
I consider it a very fortunate coincidence that we are having this debate in plenary today, on the same day as the informal European Council Summit, whose agenda is exclusively dedicated to growth and job creation, because I believe that the financial transaction tax is an integral part of Europe’s strategy to exit the crisis. This is because it can raise significant revenues which can be used for stimulating growth, job creation and smart fiscal consolidation as well as public goods such as development goals and tackling climate change. This will bring a fairer and most balanced distribution of the cost of the crisis, which is today being borne by labour and the productive economy.
Let me remind you that we are all in favour of a global financial transaction tax, since the broader the jurisdiction the more effective the tax. Our challenge is how to reach a global agreement, and since Europe has the largest financial market in the world it is up to us to make the first step and open the way. That is why we are in favour of an EU-wide financial transaction tax.
We are aware that the unanimity rule makes it exceedingly difficult for us to advance on such issues. We have taken huge steps on enhanced economic and budgetary rules and compliance, which contrasts with a lack of progress on tax coordination. A minimum of tax coordination in the context of this enhanced budgetary and economic surveillance is certainly a must. It is an integral part of the new architecture which we are designing. We cannot be held hostage by a handful of Member States, and that is why we can support, as a first step, enhanced cooperation among a certain number of Member States – once we have exhausted our efforts to achieve an EU-27 agreement, of course.
On the technical aspects of the proposal, the success of the financial transaction tax depends on its design, which should leave no scope for tax avoidance. The report seeks to strengthen the design of the directive and make sure that the framework will be watertight and tax evasion minimised. We have introduced two new elements: the issuance principle, which complements the residence principle, and the ownership principle, which ensures effective enforcement of the law.
This is a financial transaction tax which can safely be introduced at EU level, or by certain Member States, without significant risk of relocation. Let us keep in mind that the cost of relocation will be much higher than the cost of compliance, due also to the very low rates.
Let me underline that the clear precondition for an effective financial transaction tax is its wide scope, covering all transactions without exemptions. Exempting institutions from the scope of the tax could pose systemic risks and encourage risky strategies. Exemption would open the door wide to tax avoidance.
Dear colleagues, I call on you to support by a large majority this tax, without exemptions, because it is one of the fairest and most effective tools we have to exit the crisis and ensure that it does not happen again, and also because I believe that it is now time to give substance to our claim that the financial sector should be at the service of the real economy.
Mr President, firstly in order to be consistent in our position, let me remind you that in
Secondly, some colleagues expressed fears about the negative effects of a financial transaction tax on growth, enterprises and households. The truth is that enterprises and households are suffering right now as a result of the financial crisis, caused by the financial sector because of high VAT levels and high taxes on labour.
Regarding exemptions, I fully agree with Commissioner Šemeta that exemptions create distortions and room for loopholes. I would like to remind you that in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, we reached a compromise provisionally exempting pension funds until the review of this directive. We did this in the spirit of compromise – a compromise which I regret is not yet in place – despite the fact that the FTT would have minimal impact on conservative funds. This compromise can better secure the pensions of Europeans by incentivising them to follow prudent investment strategies.
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