France should push Tobin Tax at G20-EU’s Barnier

Feb 1 (Reuters) – France should use its year-long presidency of the Group of 20 economies to push through a global tax on financial market transactions, European Union Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier told a German newspaper.

“I personally consider this to be the right idea,” he said in comments to be published in Tuesday’s edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

France took over the rotating presidency of the G20 last week and set out a three-pronged agenda — tackling swings in commodity prices, finding ideas for a new Bretton Woods system on monetary issues and redrawing economic governance rules.

“Only once there is consensus about the principle can we then talk about the size,” the financial services chief noted, adding any such tax would have to be implemented worldwide.

Also last week, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann called on Germany to throw its weight behind a tax on financial transactions designed to limit excessive market speculation. For details, see [ID:nLDE70Q2P4]

Ever since the financial crisis, the idea of Tobin-style transaction taxes has been gaining support as advocates aim to prevent a surge in speculative, often leveraged bets seen to be of little productive benefit to an economy.

Opponents of such a tax, however, argue that these taxes penalize everyone and add that speculators provide a very useful service by increasing the overall liquidity in the financial system.


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