Finance leaders from European Union Member States have been debating a proposal to levy taxes on financial institutions throughout the European Union. The proposal is one that might provide revenue as leaders look to address the debt crisis. French and German officials, including President Sarkozy, have strongly advocated for the tax which they consider imperative to raise funds.

A consensus has not been reached, either among leaders from the European Union as a whole or within the Eurozone. Swedish, United Kingdom and Irish governmental officials have all expressed concerns about the tax.

George Osborne MP, United Kingdom Chancellor of the Exchequer, has made strong remarks reflecting his opposition to the proposal. Specifically, his concerns are that this “Tobin” or “Robin Hood” tax would not be paid by financial institutions. Osborne is convinced that the tax will be passed on to consumers.

Within the Eurozone, the reception from Italian and Dutch governmental officials is lukewarm – both governments will further explore the idea within the constructs of the respective national government.

In the absence of a consensus amongl Member States, there is some support for the Eurozone Member States to impose the tax by acting separately from the remaining Member States. This debate illuminates underlying tension among Member States about who should bear the cost of the debt crisis.

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