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Finnish Tobin tax sceptics look to Sweden

At least 11 EU countries now support a tax on financial transactions, but Finland has not yet reached a final decision on the matter. Those opposed to the tax say that Finland should not implement it unless Sweden does too.

The so-called Tobin tax, named after the US economist who suggested it in 1972 as a way to calm volatile financial markets, has been pushed by France and Germany.

A minimum of nine countries are required to use an EU treaty provision to launch the tax. That number was passed on Tuesday, when Spain, Italy, Estonia and Slovakia joined the initiative.

Last week discussions in Finland between the six government parties did not yield an agreement on the policy.

The National Coalition Party worries that the tax may harm Finnish competitiveness, while the Social Democrats are more positive about the idea.

Prime minister Jyrki Katainen told Yle that he feared businesses might flee to Sweden.

’If EU countries or some of the EU countries would like to implement the tax and Sweden does not, then of course that has an impact on Finland too,’ said Katainen. ’We do not want to lose jobs or business from Finland to Sweden just because of this tax.’

SDP MP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, meanwhile, wondered at the NCP’s stance on the matter, pointing out that the tax had cross party support in France and was driven primarily by German chancellor Merkel, who is a member of a sister party of the NCP.

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