Saturday 25 November 2017

Kenny will say no to new tax on banking at EU meeting

Fionnan Sheahan, Barry Duggan and Greg Harkin

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny is expected to voice his opposition to a proposed tax on banking transactions at a meeting of EU leaders tomorrow.

The meeting will discuss how to grow the European economy, along with reducing budget deficits.

Mr Kenny will be accompanied to Brussels by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, although the Foreign Minister won't be attending the dinner of EU leaders.

Before the dinner the Taoiseach will be at a meeting of Fine Gael's European grouping, which will also be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Tanaiste will be at a meeting of the Labour Party's grouping, where France's new Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault will also be present.

Mr Kenny and Mr Gilmore will attempt to suss out the views of Germany and France ahead of the leaders' dinner.

The financial transaction tax will definitely be on the agenda at tomorrow night's meeting.

The Government believes a financial transaction tax would damage the banking sector in Ireland, including the IFSC.

Mr Kenny will argue that he has no problem with the proposed levy if it is applied evenly on a global basis. If the tax is brought in for the eurozone alone, he is expected to argue, Dublin would be at a disadvantage to London.

The British Government is also opposed to the tax.

The discussion on the transaction tax is flagged in a letter to EU leaders from European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who acknowledges it is a "difficult issue".

Mr Van Rompuy also mentions increasing capital for the European Investment Bank to loan money, and plays down any expectation of decisions being taken tomorrow.

"The idea is not at this stage to draw conclusions and take decisions, but to prepare politically to take decisions at June's European Council," he says.


Meanwhile, an anti-austerity protester pelted Mr Kenny's car with eggs as he arrived at a school day.

One egg smashed off the windscreen of Mr Kenny's official car as it arrived at Loreto Community College in Milford, Co Donegal.

Around 60 noisy protesters were at the school, many carrying placards opposing the Stability Treaty and various new taxes.

But they were drowned out by more than 700 pupils at the school, where Mr Kenny emerged unscathed to present a prize of €150,000 worth of computer and digital equipment for winning the first annual SmartClass Competition.

Irish Independent

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