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Lusa - Business News - EDU/Presidency: Portugal wants to push ahead with equity trading tax




Brussels, Feb.22,2021 (Lusa) - The Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union has presented a proposal to reopen the discussion on the financial transaction tax that has been gathering dust for a decade, but which Lisbon wants to relaunch in the current context of crisis.

In a document sent to the other member states, Lusa saw on Monday. The Portuguese presidency recalls that, in the absence of unanimous agreement on the original Commission proposal of 2011, 11 countries decided to move forward with this tax in the model of enhanced cooperation, which, however, never materialised, with some countries deciding to proceed alone.

The countries that decided to introduce domestic financial transaction taxes include Italy and France, and Portugal believes that the EU should draw inspiration from the existing models that have been tested in these two countries, taxing the purchase and sale of shares and, in the Italian case, also derivatives.

Underlining the current context of a deep economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and recalling that the European Council in July last year agreed to reform the Union's own resources system and introduce new forms of financing, "which may include a tax on financial transactions", the Portuguese presidency said that it was time to return to the subject.

Addressing not only the 10 countries that are currently committed to moving forward with the tax - Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Greece and Italy, in addition to Portugal - but also opening the door to the others, challenging them to share their views in this new context in which Europe needs new sources of revenue to finance the recovery, the Portuguese presidency believes that the current moment "is a good opportunity for a comprehensive conceptual discussion on the format" that this tax could take.

"The key objective of the presidency is to explore ways towards a possible consensus around a model for an efficient Financial Transaction Tax, reassessing the views of participating member states and also non-participating member states in light of the current context," reads the 20-page document.

The Portuguese presidency said that "at this stage," member states should focus solely on questions about the design of the tax, considering that "purely political aspects, such as own resources or potential mutualisation of tax revenues," although fundamental to the dossier, should be discussed at a later stage.

Therefore, and to discuss the form that this 'Robin Hood tax' - as it is also known - might take, the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the EU said that, in believed, "the most sensible approach would be to start by testing the approaches developed and already tested by France and Italy", as soon as possible, taking advantage of their "combined experience".

"The French and Italian experiences are particularly paradigmatic. Both France and Italy have focused on taxing equity transactions - in the case of Italy, also [taxing] derivatives - and although their approaches to taxing equities differ in respect to some technical specificities, both countries have based their taxes on the same two pillars of the design of the levy," namely safeguards to ensure that all transactions, even those in foreign currencies, are covered and the protection of market liquidity.

As for the scope of the tax, the Portuguese presidency acknowledges a preference for the "already well-tested" Italian model, considering that "the inclusion of equity derivatives could be part of the first step" of the European tax.

The Portuguese presidency aims to finalise discussions around the implementation of the 'Tobin tax' - another name by which it is known, as US economist James Tobin created the idea - by the end of next year, recalling that the Commission has already indicated that in the absence of a commitment by the end of 2022, it will propose a new tax on financial transactions, with a view to its introduction no later than 2026.

ACC/ADB // ADB.

Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-02-23 11:21:00







 

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