EU Commission backs 10 euro zone states' financial transaction tax

BRUSSELS Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:15am EDT

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BRUSSELS Oct 23 (Reuters) - The European Commission backed on Tuesday an initiative by 10 euro zone countries to introduce a harmonised financial transaction tax (FTT) among themselves to make the financial sector contribute to the costs of the sovereign debt crisis.

"I am delighted to see that 10 member states have indicated their willingness to participate in a common FTT along the lines of the Commission's original proposal," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement.

"This tax can raise billions of euros of much-needed revenue for member states in these difficult times. This is about fairness: we need to ensure the costs of the crisis are shared by the financial sector instead of shouldered by ordinary citizens," he said.

The 10 countries are France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

They decided to push on with the introduction of the tax after the idea, which was first floated by the Commission in September 2011, failed to win unanimous support among the EU's 27 member states in June.

To go ahead without the support of all the EU's members, at least nine countries had to support it, enabling a legal process called enhanced cooperation, which makes it possible for only some countries to implement it.

In September 2011, the Commission estimated that the harmonised tax would deliver 57 billion euros ($74.5 billion) in revenues each year. ($1 = 0.7651 euros) (Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Rex Merrifield)

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