Nine EU countries have asked the Danish presidency to put the financial transaction tax (FTT) on the 27-country bloc's agenda without delay, the French government announced in a statement yesterday (7 February).
François Baroin, the French Economy, Finance and Industry minister, says "the heart of the eurozone" is determined to introduce the new tax (see background).
The statement, released by Paris, says Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and the finance ministers of France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Spain, Finland, Greece and Portugal signed the letter.
The nine countries call on the Danish presidency to speed up the work of the Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of the individual member countries, so that a draft of the FTT directive is discussed in the first half of the year.
The initiative remains open to other countries and is complementary to the community approach on the issue, Baroin states.
Two weeks ago, France outlined a blueprint of its own financial tax. President Nicolas Sarkozy is hoping the levy will be approved before the first round of the presidential election in April.
In a recent statement, Baroin conceded that the tax may not win the backing of Britain and Sweden. Stockholm saw trading migrate to London when it introduced a similar tax in the mid-1980s.
Last year, the European Commission proposed a scheme to tax stock, bond and derivatives trades from 2014, potentially raising €57 billion with much of it from Britain, the region's biggest trading centre.
Under the EU plan, which needs the backing of all 27 member states to become law, stock and bond trades would be taxed at the rate of 0.1%, and derivatives trades at 0.01%.