Transactions tax 'won't be imposed on UK', says EU's Barnier
24 January 2012
, by Helia Ebrahimi (The Telegraph)http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/9034159/Transactions-tax-wont-be-imposed-on-UK-says-EUs-Barnier.htmlControversial plans for a Europe-wide financial transaction tax "will not be imposed on the UK against its will", according to EU markets chief Michel Barnier
Mr Barnier, who was addressing a sceptical audience at London's Guildhall, sparked audible laughter when he claimed "there is no plot in Europe to undermine the City".
Instead, he insisted the UK's place was "at the heart of Europe" and that the City must learn to "play the European game" and give up seeking UK exemptions that threaten to endanger open trade.
He openly criticised the efforts of David Cameron to safeguard the UK's financial sector as a national champion, saying "we need to turn our back on nationalism and protectionism" as it "would spell the end of the single market", prompting other countries to seek similar exemptions.
However, when he was challenged on why subsidies given to the French-led agriculture industry had not prompted a similar tax, he responded by saying: "Even in Britain you have to eat."
"The reach of the UK doesn't stop at the Channel Tunnel," he warned, saying that the single market needed a single rule book.
His comments on discrimination between eurozone countries and non-eurozone countries won him some support from the audience.
"I am the commissioner to all 27 countries not just the 17," Mr Barnier said.
He also addressed fears of a potential clash between Basel III capital requirements and proposals made under Independent Commission on Banking's, which Mr Barnier said were entirely "compatible" and the "right balance between common standards" and "specific national requirements".
He also said 2012 would see new legislation put in place to tackle shadow banking, with further focus on consumers and small to medium size enterprizes.