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FTT staggers into 2016

The FTT proposal has survived another annual deadline, yesterday’s meeting of EU finance ministers agreed a one page framework for the controversial “Tobin” tax, covering equity, bond and derivatives transactions in the 10 countries[1] who still champion the scheme. The document contains no detail or agreement on how the tax is to be levied, how much it is to be, or on what it is to be spent. Estonia has dropped its support, while Slovakia and Slovenia forced the inclusion of changes to an already high-level, minimalist document; the FTT needs a minimum of nine countries to remain viable. The addition of such clauses as “No exemption for market making activities should be granted” and “the financial viability of the tax for each country should be taken into account” will do little to solidify support among its shrinking member-state base. Widely reported as something of a breakthrough, the document looks more like a vague commitment to continue talks, postponing the deadline to June 2016.

[1] Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia

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