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EC president proposes EU financial transactions tax

The European Commission president has today proposed a Europe-wide financial transactions tax to help vitalise public finance across the region.

José Manuel Barroso used his annual State of the Union address to the European parliament to outline the tax, calling it a “matter of fairness”.

“We are at a crucial moment in history because if we do not move forward with more unification, we will suffer fragmentation,” said Barroso.

“Some people will ask ‘Why?’. If our farmers, if our workers, if all the sectors of the economy from industry to agriculture to services, if they all pay a contribution to the society also the banking sector should make a contribution to the society,” he added.

“We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to tax evasion. So it is time to adopt our proposals on savings tax within the European Union. And I call on the member states to finally give the Commission the mandate we have asked for to negotiate tax agreements for the whole European Union with third countries.”

A European financial transactions tax has been widely supported by Germany and France but has facde staunch opposition from a number of countries including the UK.

Barroso did not reveal details of his plan, except to outline that it is expected to raise €55 billion a year.

More to follow.

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