EUROPE – A majority of MEPs has given 11 EU member states the go-ahead for the implementation of the financial transaction tax (FTT).
The tax – also known as a Tobin tax – will be introduced by 11 countries that previously agreed to back the EU's proposals.
In September 2011, the European Commission issued a proposal for the introduction of a controversial directive that contains an FTT at 0.1% for transactions in bonds and equities, and 0.01% for derivatives transactions.
While France and Germany – the two countries that originally pushed for the introduction of the tax – received support from Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Portugal and Greece, one more member state's approval was still needed to use 'enhanced cooperation'.
In October this year, Italy, Spain, Estonia and Slovakia pledged support to the tax, bringing the number of member states backing the FTT to 11, which is higher than the minimum of nine countries required under European Commission rules to put in place enhanced cooperation.
Yesterday, 533 MEPs voted for the implementation of the tax, against 91 opposed and 32 abstentions.
In a statement, Anni Podimata, the rapporteur in charge of the introduction of the FTT, said the financial sector – "the very same sector that is now even benefitting from the crisis" – should not be spared.
"Delay in implementing this tax is costing money that is being footed by normal people," she added.
The agreement signed yesterday also stipulates that the ultimate goal should be a worldwide FTT and calls on the EU to continue campaigning for it.
The text will now have to be approved by the European Council to allow the Commission to initiate enhanced cooperation.