Political deal at the expense of savers

A European financial transaction tax has been discussed for a long time. This would hardly bring any income, and Germany would have to give up a lot of that. A nonsensical tax.

View of the Dax board.

Hpublicly, the financial transaction tax tussle is not coming to an inglorious conclusion anytime soon. The EU-wide introduction failed in 2013 due to the resistance of the majority of the member states, who did not want to trip themselves with the expected location disadvantage. The minority, determined less by pragmatism than by ideology, continued and used EU law for so-called “enhanced cooperation”: Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Nine is the minimum size for “enhanced cooperation”. The smaller states were rather listless and had to keep going again and again, otherwise the “increased cooperation” would have failed. There was hope that reason would prevail. But now the finance ministers of Germany and France are making a desperate attempt to push through the financial transaction tax after all – or at least something they can call that.

Following the French model, the purchase of shares in companies from the above-mentioned countries with a market capitalization of over one billion euros is to be taxed. The tax should amount to 0.2 percent of the purchase price. Bonds, derivatives and other financial instruments should be left out. The revenue should flow to the Member State in which the company is based. From Germany this would be 140 companies, from Slovenia and Slovakia only two each.

Thomas Richter, General Manager of the BVI Fund Association
Thomas Richter, General Manager of the BVI Fund Association: Image: BVI

Overall, the tax should bring 3 to 3.5 billion euros, a little more than a billion euros would go to Germany, at least three times as much as the dog tax, to countries like Slovenia or Slovakia hardly anything, but high administrative costs. The German finance minister is apparently willing to give these states part of the income that Germany is entitled to. In other words: tax money from German stock savers should be used to buy votes in small EU countries, because otherwise they would have administrative costs but hardly any income from the tax.

And all of this only in order to bring political success to its own party base, which in truth is not. Because there they still seem to believe that the banks pay the tax and not their own voters. Above all, equity savers will pay the tax. Not only are they asked to pay, but they are also brought closer to speculators, because efforts are being made to prevent speculation in order to justify the new tax – absurd in view of the fact that derivatives and bonds are not to be taxed. One can only hope that at the end of the day, reason will come about and this nonsensical tax will not come.