EU will 'persist' with bank levy plan

9 June 2010

Senior figures from the European Union (EU) have pledged to press ahead with plans to introduce a new levy on the banking sector to help fund potential future bailouts.

Last weekend's G20 meeting resulted in plans for a global tax being dropped, after opposition to the idea was strongly expressed by the likes of Canada, China and Australia.

However, the EU still intends to introduce its own levy in some form, reports the Financial Times.

Michel Barnier, internal market commissioner for the EU, said proposals to establish a network of domestic funds using the money brought in by such a tax were still under discussion.

"We will persist in this matter," he stated.

His comments were backed up by Germany's deputy finance minister Jorg Asmussen.

"We will try to reach a global consensus but when that is not possible, we are of the opinion that we should move forward in Europe," Mr Asmussen said after a meeting of EU finance ministers.

The conference also resulted in an agreement to allow Eurostat, the EU's statistical agency, to examine the books of member states in circumstances where figures have been revised without a clear explanation being provided.

Countries will additionally be required to meet budgetary targets more stringently.

Olli Rehn, economic and monetary affairs commissioner for the EU, said the new powers could soon be put into use by officials.

"We have had some concerns as regards the statistical performance of Bulgaria and are considering sending a mission shortly," he stated.

Last month, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said that countries in the eurozone need to demonstrate closer co-operation in terms of their economic governance.

He suggested that short-term fiscal transfers between member states should be considered, along with the introduction of tougher surveillance of each nation's budget plans.

By Tony Aynsley

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