Germany pushing for FTT across the board

 Image from www.openeurope.org.uk

Image from www.openeurope.org.uk

The FTT discussion has been rearing its ugly head again over the last weeks with the EU countries that form the 'coalition of the willing' moving towards a final agreement. 

The progress in establishing FTT has been slow. The concept itself is simple enough and resonates well with voters. Who would not be in favor of extra levies for a 'fat cat' industry held responsible for throwing the global economy back into the dark ages, then getting itself bailed out and going on its merry way handing out big bonuses for 'turning the firm around' under difficult circumstances. FTT is a modern day pitchfork and torch for the (understandably) angry masses. Smart politicians would never ignore the dissatisfaction of their constituency. So, they jumped on the FTT bandwagon and rolled with it; well, sort of rolled with it. Smart politicians also know that turning FTT into something workable that does not actually harm the economy is, to say the least, complex.

So, FTT has been held up in the mysterious maneuverings of the EU where a seemingly step forward might actually mean a step backwards. Today, the FT reported on the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schlaube, calling for a push to have the agreed upon scheme be implemented all over the EU instead of the 11 countries willing to implement it. The full article can be found here. It sounds like a push forward; we have a good plan, now implement it as a real union , but could it just be a smart step backwards? As the FT reports, FTT seemed dead in the water for a long time and all of a sudden, real progress was made. I could not think of a better move to postpone it again by stating that staunch opponents (like the UK) need to agree for the sake of the Union approach. And then, as an end game, kill the FTT as a bargaining chip to make sure that the UK stays in the EU. Perhaps I've binge watched House of Cards too much or perhaps it's just wishful thinking but to me it seems like a signal that we just moved a small step away from FTT.