MEPs back financial transaction tax

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MEPs back financial transaction tax

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MEPs on Wednesday backed taxing financial trades across the EU, but a group of the 27 member states remain opposed.

The European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the financial transaction tax said banks will not be able to dodge the levy by shifting business overseas.

“Assets issued by European institutions and traded by non-European institutions have to be taxed,” said Greek Socialist Anni Podimata.

Sweden and the UK are leading opposition to an EU-wide financial transaction tax. Both governments are threatening to veto the move.

Katy Swinburne, a British Conservative MEP, said an all-expansive levy on financial trades could be “a very dangerous tool.”

EU officials, however, downplay any threat of a mass relocation of financial trades.

Algirdas Semeta, European Commissioner for taxation, said business is unlikely to relocate to other financial centres such as Hong Kong or Zurich because they have other forms of levies to pay in those countries.

“It means that the risk raised by those member states (opposing these measures) is not as significant as they think,” he told euronews.

Parliament approved the tax rates proposed by the Commission, 0.1 percent for shares and bonds, and 0.01 percent for derivatives.