The German and French ministers of finance sent their Belgian counterparts a letter last Wednesday saying that they completely support both a global and an EU-only financial transaction tax (FTT).
First they ask the Belgian finance minister to insert, in the agenda of the next meeting of the EU Council of Finance Ministers, the issue of a global financial transaction tax.
Then the letter adds that France and Germany will jointly present proposals for “a European solution”, which might mean an EU-only FTT.
Peter Wahl, a financial regulation expert from Weed e.V. in Germany, told us there are still kinks to be worked out:
As far as we know, there is still a difference of views between France and Germany on what the tax would be spent for, with France favouring development and climate, and Germany favouring debt reduction.
His sense of what’s behind this letter is that the German government in particular is keen to show determination in pushing the FTT forward, even at EU level, like Schäuble had announced even before G20.
But what’s alarming is that this letter makes the FTT seem like more of a potential reality than we initially thought. It’s still hard to believe that a FTT would ever pass, but we have a harder time convincing ourselves after reading this letter.
Here it is: