Sweden does not stop the Tobin tax

Sweden does not try to stop that a Tobin Tax is introduced in the EU. Eleven countries have therefore given the green light to introduce a tax on financial transactions.

– Sweden has no intention of participating in a financial tax. We believe that it is a tax that is harmful to the growth and real wages, said Finance Minister Anders Borg.

– But we will vote yes to the other countries going ahead with it. We have had serious objections to the process; we would like to have had clear proposals before a vote and been able to get it rooted in parliaments. But now there are a number of countries who think that this is an important part of their emergency policies and that is why we do not block it.

The Swedish government has been one of the toughest opponents of the introduction of a financial tax in the EU. But when eleven countries, with Germany and France in the lead now demand to initiate a so-called deepening EU cooperation with such a tax, the government has chosen not to stop it.

It will now be the eleven countries alone who decide how the financial tax should be designed. The tax can also affects the financial market in Sweden.

The European Commission has proposed that the tax should cover trade in all stocks and bonds, and that it should even apply transactions where only one party is in any of the eleven countries. This would mean that the Swedish bank business may suffer tax if the buyer or seller is in one of these countries.

– We do not know how it will affect Sweden. We think that is disturbing, says Anders Borg.

– All of the Swedish Parliament had sharp criticism against this proposal. We believe that this should be done as narrow as possible so it has as little as possible negative impact of European cooperation.

But after the go-ahead from the EU, only the countries that make the decisions about the design of the tax will participate in the collaboration. Other EU countries may be involved in the discussions but have no decision-making authority.

The European Commission has proposed a tax of 0.1 percent on both the buyer and seller side. For derivative contracts, the proposal means a tax of 0.01 percent.

The eleven countries wishing to impose financial tax are Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia and Greece.

The Netherlands is also interested in participating, provided that the pension fund companies are exempt from the tax.

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