France, Germany and nine other European Union states side-stepped British opposition this week and won approval for a tax on financial transactions, it emerged on Wednesday.
The Times reported that EU finance ministers gave their blessing to the scheme, which will apply to anyone in the 11 countries who makes a bond or share trade or bets on the market using derivatives.
The two big Euro states were able to bypass opposition from Britain and other states under an EU procedure known as enhanced co-operation. The system has been used previously for divorce law and in the field of patents.
Algirdas Semeta, the European Taxation Commissioner, called the decision a “major milestone for EU tax policies”. He had no immediate estimate of how much revenue the tax would generate, but noted that the Commission previously had calculated that such a tax across the 27-nation bloc could yield €57 billion a year.
The 11 nations, representing about two thirds of the EU economy, are Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The Netherlands, where a Government was elected in the autumn, may participate. The states now need the Commission to draft legislation enacting a tax.