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France prepared to go it alone on financial transaction tax

AFP / Eric Piermont

France is to decide on a financial transaction tax by the end of the month to set an example for Europe, even if Germany does not follow suit, an aide to President Nicolas Sarkozy told a French news channel on Friday. 

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"There will be a decision on financial transaction taxes before the end of January as far as France is concerned," said Henri Guaino. Asked if Paris was prepared to put in place transaction taxes even if Germany did not, Guaino admitted it would be better if Germany were involved.

"We will keep discussing it in the coming days and weeks, but France is ready to take the lead on this issue... and hopes it can bring others along," he said.

On Wednesday, French minister for European affairs Jean Leonetti said a European financial transaction tax would be in place by the end of year, apparently moving up the programme.

Meanwhile, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters its position on the financial transaction tax had not changed and the government aimed to introduce it within the EU before the end of 2012.

He added that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in December that Germany and France wanted to size up the situation within the EU in the first weeks or months of this year by assessing how much support such a tax had.

"This is on the programme for the next European summit…Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have decided on this and it will be put in place before the end of 2012," he said.

Last month, French Finance Minister Francois Baroin said France and Germany were to present their financial transactions tax proposal on 23 January with the hope it will be implemented across Europe in 2013.

Britain is opposed to transaction taxes being implemented across the 27-member European Union.
 

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