According to the luxembourg judges, the eu treaties allow some of the 28 eu states – including germany – to go ahead with the common financial transaction tax first. The court rejected an action by the uk against a corresponding decision by the EU council of ministers in january 2013 (case C-209/13).
The judges do not comment on the specific implementation and content of the tax, but only on the question of whether the council’s decision was permissible. You consider the british complaint to be premature because it relates to the consequences of the tax, which has not yet been decided and whose effect is not yet foreseeable: "this question can therefore not be examined before the introduction of the financial transaction tax."Grobbritannien promptly announced that it would sue again at a later date.
The tax on trading in banking and stock exchange products is seen as a means of curbing speculation and making the financial sector share the costs of the crisis. It is expected to generate some 30 to 35 billion euros in tax revenue for the eleven states.
The ruling gives a boost to germany and france, which are pressing ahead with the tax and want to clear up outstanding issues before the european elections at the end of may.
The eleven states act on the tax in the framework of so-called enhanced cooperation. Article 20 of the lisbon treaty provides for this in the event that a project does not receive unanimous support at EU level. The court confirms this practice – as it has in previous rulings.
Great britain has always been one of the most bitter opponents of the tax and is not going along with it. The british feared that businesses could move away from the financial center of london. In the complaint, they argue that the tax will also have an impact on countries that do not participate, and that they will incur costs as a result. "Today’s decision confirms that the united kingdom may appeal against the final proposal for the financial transaction tax if it is not in our national interest," the british treasury said.
The eu commission, which had made the proposal for the tax, buried the verdict. "We hope that today’s decision will give the eleven states new momentum in their negotiations," said a commission spokeswoman. The decision now has legal certainty.
The chairman of the SPD european deputies udo bullmann said that the way was clear for the tax against gambling: "this action on behalf of the billionaire financial lobby was the last desperate act of minister osborne in the fight against the regulation of financial markets."
The globalization-critical network attac germany also buried the decision: "great britain has not been able to present a valid reason for legal action."Attac demands, the tax must be finalized this year.