Wall Street Journal
March 19, 2012
Efforts to introduce a tax on financial transactions should focus on getting all 27 European Union member states on board, a senior EU official said Monday.
Algirdas Semeta, the EU's top executive on tax policy, said he believed the EU is " moving in the direction of political compromise in order to achieve consensus amongst all 27 member states" and dismissed voices calling for those countries willing to go ahead without their reluctant peers.
The way to proceed with only some EU countries on board is through the so-called method of "enhanced cooperation," where member states agree to go ahead with intergovernmental agreements when an EU-level unanimous decision can't be reached. An example of this method is the Schengen passport-free travel area. But in order to resort to enhanced cooperation, the EU has to show that it has exhausted all chances of getting a unanimous decision.
"Some are already asking whether we should look for alternative routes to agreement, by moving ahead at less than 27. I say that the time is not ripe for such a move," Mr. Semeta said, speaking to deputies from all EU member states in Copenhagen.