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Finance

EU financial transaction tax finds enough supporters

Four more European nations have thrown their weight behind the introduction of a financial transaction tax. Procedures to initiate such a levy in some countries of the 27-member bloc now seem a mere formality.

Italy, Spain, Estonia and Slovakia on Tuesday said they would join other European nations in their bid to introduce a levy on financial transactions. The announcement was made during a meeting of EU finance ministers in Luxembourg.

The group of volunteers now comprises 11 countries, already two more than required by EU regulations to apply for a so-called enhanced cooperation accord to be agreed.

Germany and France had remained in the forefront of nations pushing for a financial transaction tax to be levied. The tax would be raised only in those nations which agree, with smaller nations including Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Slovenia and Greece also declaring themselves in favor.

No bigger deal possible

An EU-wide introduction of a 0.1-percent levy on the trade in bonds and shares had earlier failed because of Britain and Sweden categorically opposing such a measure.

Those two nations and many others have argues a transaction tax would drive away investment unless it was introduced everywhere in the world.

Germany's EU ambassador Peter Tempel said in Luxembourg the European volunteers for a transaction tax would officially submit their enhanced cooperation proposal to the EU executive in November. "We certainly hope that we can implement our scheme by the end of this year," Tempel told reporters.

hg/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)