European Scrutiny Committee Contents

13 Enhanced cooperation and a financial transaction tax



COM(12) 631

Draft Council Decision authorising enhanced cooperation in the area of financial transaction tax

Legal baseArticle 329(1) TFEU; consent; QMV
Document originated25 October 2012
Deposited in Parliament29 October 2012
DepartmentHM Treasury
Basis of considerationEM of 29 November 2012
Previous Committee ReportNone
Discussion in Council4 December 2012
Committee's assessmentPolitically important
Committee's decisionNot cleared, further information requested


13.1 In September 2011 the Commission proposed a draft Directive to establish an EU financial transaction tax (FTT). This was dependent on unanimous support of the Council and it became obvious that such support would not be forthcoming.[78]

13.2 Under Article 20 TEU and in accordance with Articles 326-334 TFEU nine or more Member States may seek Council authorisation to establish enhanced cooperation amongst themselves by exercising non-exclusive competences of the EU.

The document

13.3 With this draft Council Decision the Commission proposes Council authorisation of an enhanced cooperation procedure for introduction of an FTT. The Member States concerned are Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. The Commission says that the request of the Member States meets the conditions for enhanced cooperation and that the proposed FTT would be largely based on the original proposal, in terms of scope and objectives.

The Government's view

13.4 The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Greg Clark) says that:

  • the UK will not participate in the enhanced cooperation FTT; and
  • the implications of an enhanced cooperation FTT cannot be assessed until the detail of the proposal itself is published.


13.5 Whilst we note the confirmation that the Government does not wish an FTT for the UK, the Minister does not tell us whether the Government supports the proposal to authorise enhanced cooperation by eleven Member States. We should be grateful for the information on this.

13.6 We should like also to have very soon, the Government's assessment of the implications of an enhanced cooperation FTT, particularly on the functioning of the single market.

13.7 Meanwhile the document remains under scrutiny. But given the recognised importance of this proposal we alert the Government to the fact that we will be recommending it for debate once we have the information requested.

78   (33179) 14942/11 + ADDS 1-20: see HC 428-xxxix (2010-12), chapter 4 (26 October 2011) and HC 428-xli (2010-12), chapter 10 (9 November 2011). Back

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Prepared 13 December 2012