VILNIUS, Sept 14 The European Commission
rebuffed on Saturday an EU legal opinion that questioned the
legality of a planned financial transaction tax and said work on
the levy in 11 European Union countries would go on.
The legal services of the European Council, the institution
which represents governments of the 28-nation EU, said in their
14-page legal opinion dated Sept. 6 that the Commission's
transaction tax plan "exceeded member states' jurisdiction for
taxation under the norms of international customary law".
European Union finance ministers discussed the financial
transaction tax briefly on Saturday, with the Commission saying
there was a misunderstanding on the opinion.
"We are confident that the Commission's arguments and
arguments of the legal service of the Commission will
demonstrate very clearly to our member states that the approach
which has been taken in the proposal is the correct one and does
not breach any provisions of the Treaty," European Commissioner
Algirdas Semeta, who is responsible for taxation told reporters.
Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium,
Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia were planning to adopt
the tax on stocks, bonds, derivatives, repurchase agreements and
Semeta said first reading of the proposal by the member
states was already concluded.
"I believe that we will present arguments to our member
states for the next meeting of the Council working group. So the
work is in progress and I do not see any reasons to stop this
work or to make some additional reflections," added Semeta.
Britain, the bloc's largest financial centre, and 15 other
EU member states refused to support the transaction tax proposal
raising questions about how it would work with only some members