Barnier stresses need for common support of Tobin tax

European Commissioner ‘understands’ Maltese opposition to tax on financial transactions but says member states must walk together to restore eurozone and European economy.

EU Commissioner Michel Barnier was in Malta for talks with finance minister Tonio Fenech today.
EU Commissioner Michel Barnier was in Malta for talks with finance minister Tonio Fenech today.

European Commissioner Michel Barnier said it will be up to member states to decide whether a tax on financial transactions and the movement of capital will be implemented, after Malta joined British opposition to the so called Tobin Tax - a tax on financial transactions.

European Commissioner for the internal market Michel Barnier was in Malta today for talks with finance minister Tonio Fenech.

"I understand the Maltese government's opposition... but this why the Commission proposes, and member states decide. I have no religion or philosophy with regards to how economies should be run. But I am confident the EC's plans for a better managed eurozone and Europe will definitely benefit businesses and consumers alike," Barnier told journalists at a joint press conference after meeting Fenech.

Barnier praised Malta's handling of its economy, but advised the government to keep an eye on reducing its national debt which is now close to 69% of gross domestic product.

However the Commissioner said EU member states had to pull the same rope together, or carry the responsibility of their decisions.

EU policymakers have suggested a tax on financial trading to raise cash for a range of areas from development to bailouts, but Britain has rejected the idea with Chancellor George Osborne describing it as a "bullet aimed at the heart of London".

Barnier however made a point of stressing that EU member states should have each other's back on the tax proposal.

Barnier today said member states were engaged in "normal discussions" but he insisted that the situation was very serious and that every single member state had to "do its job at home and support member states... one for all and all for one."

"I don't want to sound either catastrophic or pessimistic, but we have a problem and we must address it. We're taking into consideration the realities of each and every single country but now is the time for us to take stock and plan on the lessons learnt from the 2008 financial crisis."

In a statement later in the day, Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Michael Briguglio called for national support for the Tobin tax. “Solidarity is a key value in the European Union. The proposed financial transactions tax that is being proposed by the European Commission will help generate revenue which can be used to strengthen the European economy. It is estimated that such a tax could generate up to €55 billion a year.

“It is high time that banks and financial institutions participate in responsibility sharing for the economic crisis, especially since they received massive help from public funds when this was needed. If workers and employers are paying tax to help sustain economic and social stability, then it is only fair that banks and financial institutions do the same.”

Barnier said the European Commission had prepared 50 proposals which had been put on the table for discussion. "Together we can do it, but each and every single country must carry its responsibility to make things effective."

Barnier was also asked about his calls to break up the four major audit firms into smaller firms. "This is not just for audit firms but also credit rating agencies. It is not my agenda... we're putting into practice a G20 proposal to ensure more competition and transparency through a simple system of rotation and credibility."

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Malcolm D'Amato
Gejna tajjeb hlief EU tax mahniex nisimghu.
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roderick degiorgio
Lack of fiscal responsibility by members.Too many euro members were not obejing the rules that were set,they were LYING.Financial stability can only occur if countries have discipline.
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Raymond Sant
"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" ** The euro is going out and nothing can save it. ** So much so that the Bank of England has instructed the banks to boost their reserves to prepare for the end of the euro, the end of the eurozone and also of approaching financial storms. ** For the latest international media links on the euro crisis go to http://eupettydictators.webs.com/links4.htm and see what most of the local media is hiding from you.
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Lawrence Zammit
Mela gejja taghna. Hope that the PM does not succumb to the pressure like the last time when he said that he would ask for collateral to secure Malta's guarantee to Greece and returned empty handed.
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Joe Bugeja
How convineint for the Brussels buearacrates to implement their laws and rules on elected governments. Why are we having elections in Europe these days if the Brussels Beauracates are dictating to democractic elected governments what they should and shouldn't do. People better wake up if they want to live in democratic countries of Europe. If the Brussesls Beauracrates keep dictating to the democratic elected governemnts of Europe what they MUST DO, we are all in trouble because democracy is suffering. Is this what we voted for. Do people today, in Europe that is, with all the supposedly knowledge they have know that democracy as we know is being threatened in the name of economic problems.

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