PARIS (Reuters) - France plans to implement a tax on financial transactions at the end of 2014 and believes the levy to be rolled out by 11 European countries will raise “tens of billions of euros” a year, its finance minister said.
The 27-member European Union gave the go-ahead on Tuesday to 11 countries pledging to impose a tax that was proposed 40 years ago by American economist James Tobin but never got off the ground internationally.
Paris will give itself a year or so to think about how the tax will work and aim to have a law in place by the end of 2014, Moscovici said in an interview on BFM TV.
”It’ll take about two years, most probably,“ Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said. ”The calendar is deliberations in 2013 and implementation from the end of 2014 undoubtedly.
“I note in passing France already has a trading tax that generated an extremely small take of 246 million euros,” the minister said.
The new tax was inspired by a political drive to make the financial industry contribute more heavily after a financial crisis in 2007 sparked a global economic downturn. It is due to be rolled out with 10 other European countries, including Germany and Italy but not Britain.
Critics say such a tax can only work if it is imposed worldwide, or at least Europe-wide, and that its adoption in around 2015 risks pushing trading and jobs elsewhere.
“The total tax take could be several tens of billions of euros,” said Moscovici.
Moscovici said he was keen to see the proceeds go into the pan-European budget and a “significant share” of it used for international development aid.
Britain, which is Europe’s largest financial centre and has its own duty on the trading of shares, registered its protest by abstaining when EU finance ministers were asked to endorse the tax move by 11 EU countries in a vote on Tuesday.
Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Malta also abstained, EU officials said.
The European Commission, the Brussels-based executive body that proposes EU legislation, plans to produce a blueprint for such a tax in February. One EU official has said the levy could raise 35 billion euros ($46.50 billion) a year.
($1 = 0.7526 euros)
Reporting by Brian Love; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Catherine Evans