BRUSSELS Oct 7 A group of 10 European Union
countries that support a common financial transactions tax (FTT)
will meet on Monday to discuss the issue but no breakthrough is
expected yet, two EU officials said on Friday.
The introduction of a single tax on financial transactions
across the EU countries that adopt it has been debated by EU
finance ministers for more than five years but countries remain
divided on how to apply the levy.
The group has repeatedly set deadlines that have not been
met. After having pushed back the latest target of reaching a
deal in September, the meeting in October was seen as important
in view of a possible compromise by the end of the year.
The meeting on Monday will take place in Luxembourg on the
sidelines of a monthly gathering of the 19 euro zone finance
"It will be a rather short meeting. I don't expect any
outcome from this debate," an EU official involved in the talks
said on Friday. A second official said the meeting will assess
technical work carried out by two expert groups set up in June,
but is not meant to reach decisions.
The countries that support an FTT are Germany, France,
Italy, Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia
A minimum of nine countries is required for the plan to go
ahead under EU rules allowing a group of members to push forward
common projects without the support of all 28 EU states.
On Tuesday, finance ministers from all EU member states will
meet in Luxembourg but will not discuss the FTT, as no
significant progress is expected at Monday's meeting.
Talks on the issue are usually widened from the restricted
group of 10 to 28 to address the impact of the possible tax on
countries that would not apply it.
Several EU countries already apply national financial
transaction taxes. However, a common tax is seen as more
efficient and would reduce tax competition among the countries
The Slovak presidency of the EU is considering whether to
add the issue to the agenda of the next EU finance ministers'
meeting in November, the official said.
(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Susan Fenton)