From the TUC

The magnificent (European) nine backing Robin Hood

08 Feb 2012, by in International

UPDATE: we’ve now got hold of the letter written by the 9 Governments in English (thanks to Jas at Oxfam).

French newspaper Le Monde reported yesterday that nine EU governments had written to the current holder of the EU Presidency, Denmark – where there is a huge row in the coalition about whether to support a Financial Transaction Tax(FTT) – asking them “to accelerate the work of the Council” to complete the first reading of the EU draft FTT directive by July.

Although they pledged “full support” to the draft EU directive, the most interesting thing about this is that nine is the magic number of governments required to launch what’s called ‘enhanced cooperation’. This is a legal method of implementing a measure like an FTT without the unanimous support of the 27 EU member states required for an EU tax measure. So the nine governments calling for action at EU level are the nine governments who could, should such a measure fail to secure unanimity, go ahead anyway. The nine governments signing the letter are Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

The nine say that an FTT “is necessary at Community level, both to ensure a fair contribution from the financial sector to the cost of the financial crisis, but also to improve the regulation of financial markets.”

NB: the quotes are TUC translations of the text of the letters as reported in Le Monde in French.