France vows transaction tax despite German, Italian caution
France vowed Friday to introduce a transaction tax by the end of the year despite calls from Germany and Italy to wait for the tax to be implemented on a European level.
"Since a good part of the crisis stems from the financial industry, it is a above all a moral issue," said French Finance Minister Francois Baroin, adding that the tax will "become reality in the course of the year."
He said last month that the tax would be implemented across Europe in 2013 but on Friday told a conference that he wanted to "speed up the calendar."
Henri Guaino, a special adviser to President Nicolas Sarkozy, said France would decide on the transaction tax by the end of January and would introduce it by year-end to set an example for the rest of Europe.
Asked if Paris was prepared to put in place the taxes even if Germany did not do so, Guaino said: "It is better if Germany is involved."
"We will keep discussing it in the coming days and weeks, but France is ready to take the lead on this issue... and hopes it can bring others along," he said.
But Germany, Italy and the European Commission on Friday urged France not to go it alone on the issue.
"It is necessary that the different countries do not go it alone in the application of this tax. I believe in a European perspective," Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said during a visit to Paris.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters that "the German position has been the same for a long time.
"We would like to see a global financial transaction tax but that is not possible at the present time. The German government would thus aim to introduce the financial transaction tax within the EU."
He noted that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in December that Germany and France wanted to size up the situation within the EU in the first weeks or months of this year by assessing how much support such a tax had.
The European Commission for its part called Friday for a "concerted approach" to the issue.
Britain is opposed to transaction taxes being implemented across the 27-member European Union.
© 2012 AFP