* Germany would consider bourse tax or stamp duty
* UK would back only global financial transaction tax
* Stamp duty taxes only shares, falls on investor
* FTT taxes shares, bonds, derivatives, paid by banks
By Alexandra Hudson
BERLIN, Jan 20 Germany favours an EU-wide
tax on financial transactions but would consider a narrower
bourse levy as a compromise if it secured the support of
Britain, the government's spokesman said on Friday.
German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler had earlier raised
the possibility of a bourse tax or stamp duty as an alternative
to a proposed financial transaction tax, which Britain opposes
for fear it could make London less attractive for business
against other global financial centres.
Britain already operates a stamp duty of 0.5 percent on
trading shares, a levy which the investor pays.
Under the European Commission's proposed financial
transaction tax, bonds, derivatives and shares would all be
taxed, with the banks that handle the transaction having to pay
rather than the investor. For a factbox on how it could work
The moves are all broadly part of the drive since the
financial turmoil of 2008 to make Europe's banking sector pay
more back to the rest of society in recognition of how
governments have had to carry the can for its losses.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany wants a
financial transaction tax introduced across the European Union,
but has indicated her Christian Democrats (CDU) would accept the
tax also within the 17-member euro zone if Britain rejected it.
That has put her at odds with Roesler's Free Democrat
Liberals (FDP), her junior coalition partners, who will only
accept the tax across the EU.
Asked to clarify Berlin's stance, government spokesman
Steffen Seibert said at a regular press conference on Friday
there was no change.
"The government welcomes the EU Commission's proposal
because it encompasses our requests for a broad based tax with a
low rate. We will fight for this."
However, he added Roesler's suggestion was "sensible".
"BRIDGE" TO UK
"He is looking at all possibilities for getting the United
Kingdom on board... We need to find out in talks whether a
bourse tax could be a bridge for the United Kingdom, then
Germany will discuss this with its European partners."
European leaders have said they plan to map out a financial
transaction tax by March. Finance Ministry spokesman Martin
Kotthaus said discussions on this were continuing.
"We would like to have settled by the end of the first
quarter if this is a proposal which flies... If not then we have
to look at what other ways are possible."
France has also previously said it would campaign for a
financial transaction tax within the euro zone. Spokesman
Seibert declined to comment on whether the French were also
Asked what its stance might be on an EU-wide stamp duty
proposal, a spokesman for Britain's Treasury said none had been
formally tabled but that London continued to engage with other
members on the matter.
A senior Bundesbank member on Friday urged governments to
reach agreement on the issue as soon as possible in order to
provide clarity to markets.