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Global Governance Spotlight 2|2014

The EU-11: The Global Avant-Garde? The negotiations on a financial transaction tax

Hubert Zimmermann
March 2014; 4 pages


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In the coalition agreement adopted in late 2013, the CDU/CSU and SPD agreed to push for the introduction of a financial transaction tax (FTT) as a priority project within the EU. This has increased the prospects that this concept, which has been promoted by numerous political and civil society actors for decades with the aim of curbing speculative transactions in the financial markets, will finally come to fruition. A supranational FTT long seemed to be no more than a utopian ideal, but for the past three years, it has been a topic of negotiations at EU level, with realistic prospects of success.

The 11 Member States involved in the talks could thus become a kind of “global avant-garde”. However, the negotiations are proving difficult, due to the divergent interests of the negotiating parties, objections from non-participating EU countries and massive lobbying by the financial industry. It therefore seems likely that the FTT that is ultimately adopted will be a watered-down version. Dwindling political impetus could also result in patchy implementation of the FTT, meaning that it ultimately fails to fulfil its original purpose.

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