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Left U-Turn on the Tobin Tax

(article published in Ouest-France, September 29, 2011)
Faced with the crisis, the Commission announces a set of proposals intended to regulate the financial markets, to create a Tobin tax and announces Eurobonds.

It was a pugnacious José-Manuel Barroso who burst into the European Parliament yesterday. The former Portuguese Prime Minister, who has been directing the European executive for 7 years, unvarnished and without luster, wanted, this time, to strike hard in Strasbourg in front of the MEPs gathered in plenary session.

• Europe has a future

« Yes the situation is serious. But there are solutions to this crisis “Explained, from the outset, the President of the European Commission rejecting any defeatism. " LEurope has a future Without naming them, José-Manuel Barroso attacked European leaders head on. " I believe we can say that the sovereign debt crisis today is above all a crisis of political confidence. He destroyed the Franco-German project of governance of the Euro by the Member States alone. " Let's not fool ourselves again into thinking that we can share a common currency and a single market in an intergovernmental framework. “A stone in the garden of Merkel and Sarkozy!

• A Tobin tax

The European Commission has also put on the table a proposal for a tax on financial transactions which could bring in more than 55 billion euros per year ". A real left half-turn. Barely three years ago, President Barroso's entourage was skeptical about this Tobin tax. A project " unrealistic ", who " would damage European competitiveness and would cost more than it would yield ". The times are changing…

A policy of major projects for Greece

The European Commission has decided to lend a hand to Greece. A task force of 30 people was set up to select and finance the major projects proposed by the Greek State and local authorities. Funding will be provided almost entirely by the European budget. The Greeks will only have to co-finance the projects up to 5%. And again a posteriori • Financial markets under surveillance
By the end of the year, the Commission will present a legislative package to regulate more strictly rating agencies, the personal liability of financial operators, naked short selling, the parachutes of financiers. It was time…

• In the long term, Eurobonds
The Commission also announces that it wants to create a system of Eurobonds, but in the medium term, when the Euro zone will have emerged from the crisis, which will make it possible to share debts on a European scale. “Options” will be put on the table in the “coming weeks”. This will not please Berlin!

• The adopted six pack.

The European Parliament also adopted the “Six Pack”, a set of measures which allows the European Commission to strengthen the surveillance of national budgets by being able to require a review of certain measures, on pain of fines. The Commission will thus have the power to punish a State which deviates from the criteria of deficit (3% of GDP) and public debt (60% of GDP) by requiring the deposit of a guarantee which may amount to 0,2 % of its GDP. This amount placed on deposit may turn into a fine in the event of a repeat offense.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).