May 24, 2019 / 4:14 PM / 2 months ago

German Finance Minister ready to levy financial transaction tax without peers: Spiegel

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz addresses a news conference to present the budget plans for 2019 and the upcoming years in Berlin, Germany March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is ready to press ahead with a financial transaction tax at national level if other countries are not willing to introduce the levy, Der Spiegel reported in its online edition on Friday.

Germany and other European Union states have been trying to agree a financial transaction tax and Scholz said last week he expected progress by the third quarter of 2019 on introducing such a levy in at least nine EU countries.

Should that prove impossible, Spiegel said Scholz was ready to introduce the tax in Germany anyway as he wants to finance a basic pension for low-income workers that his left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) is pushing.

The SPD is the junior coalition partner in the German government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

“If there is no agreement to be reached on this at international level, then Germany should move forward,” Spiegel quoted an official source close to Scholz as saying. The source did not want to be named.

A Finance Ministry spokeswoman, when asked about the financial transaction tax, earlier told Friday’s regular government news conference in Berlin: “Work is continuing at the European level. Let’s wait and see.”

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Gareth Jones

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