Austria, EU Stress FTT Urgency
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Following a recent meeting in Vienna with European Commission President José
Manuel Barroso, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann renewed his calls for a Financial
Transactions tax (FTT).
Alluding to the fact that 11 European Union (EU) member states have so far
agreed to introduce a levy on financial transactions, within the framework of
enhanced cooperation, Chancellor Faymann reiterated the importance of such a
tax. It is vital to take a firm stance on the issue and to argue in favour of
a "fair contribution from the financial sector," to convince remaining
doubters, Faymann insisted.
Referring to ongoing preparations for a banking union, Chancellor Faymann underscored
the need to show that "the right conclusions have been drawn from the financial
market crisis," and to guarantee greater transparency and accountability
in the financial market in future.
Echoing the Austrian Chancellor's remarks, European Commission President
Barroso stressed that the tax on financial transactions is "an element
of fairness, to show that the financial sector – and we have nothing against
the financial sector, we want a dynamic and modern financial sector –
should also give a fair contribution to society."
Thanking Austria for "the leadership role that it had in the idea of a
Financial Transactions Tax," Barroso pointed out that the Commission has
already put forward a concrete proposal and urged all participating member states to
swiftly back the plans.
Barroso said: "We have now 11 countries ready to move on with it. Let's
hope that it doesn't take too much time because, I insist, this element
of fairness is also a condition for confidence, and confidence is key for growth
After separate discussions held with EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel
Barnier, Austria's Finance Minister Maria Fekter underscored the importance
of eliminating anonymous trusts and similar structures to combat tax evasion.
Fekter stressed that: "Each bank should know its customers, as has been
the case in Austria since back in 2002. In addition, however, the actual proprietors
of trust companies, trusts, letterbox companies, and the beneficiaries of anonymous
foundations must be known, so that tax evasion and money laundering can be effectively
EU Commissioner Barnier confirmed during the talks that the EU banking insolvency
law is to be adopted in the autumn of this year, to ensure that if banks get
into difficulty, where possible there should no longer be any impact on taxpayers.
This requires a standard resolution mechanism across Europe, as well as a resolution
fund, which is funded by the financial institutions, Barnier ended.