Denmark Speaks Against EU Financial Transaction Tax

European Union countries have been debating the creation of a financial transaction tax, with Denmark a frontrunner in the opposition. Speaking against the motion, Denmark said it would impede growth and cost “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

Economy Minister Margrethe Vestage is part of the Danish EU presidency, and chairs EU finance ministers meetings. In a press conference this week, she said “We would be very reluctant promoting something that minimizes growth and slashes jobs, particularly now during the crisis.”

She strengthened her point by adding that not one European Union has formally requested that the process move forward. France has publicly implied its wishes to speed up the procedure, but they too have never filed an official bid.

“It is in the normal legislative machinery at the moment, the proposal was first put on the table at Ecofin a few weeks ago and all attitudes were present around the table,” she said.

Lene Espersen, former foreign minister of Denmark and current member of the parliament’s EU affairs committee, also expressed her disgust for the tax suggestion, describing it in colorful language. She added, “Why don’t they start with the Cayman Islands and then come and talk to us? What we need is economic growth!”

Vestage also explained that the proposal is “not very robust.” In fact, even the European Commission estimated costs of 1.7% in lost GDP as well as “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

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