By Simon Miller
The City and the UK must play ball for their own interest according to the EU Commissioner for the single market Michel Barnier.
Speaking at the Guildhall in London this morning (23.01.2012), Barnier said to get the debt crisis under control and put Europe back onto recovery, the EU neeed the "strong input of the City" as "one of Europe's key assets on the global stage".
He added: "The EU must not hinder the CIty's energy. But I am sure that it is in the City's interest, and the wider British interest, to play the European game."
Barnier launched a defence of the proposed financial transaction tax (FTT) denying that it was an attack on the City.
"I believe it to be feasible. And above all just. it is right the financial sector - massively bailed out by taxpayers - pays a fair contribution to help us face up to global challenges," he commented.
Despite claiming that the nominal amount of tax would be negligible and there would be no discrimination over where the transaction is carried out, Barnier added: "But at the end of the day, the FTT won't be imposed on the UK against its will."
However, he criticised UK prime minister David Cameron for trying to introduce safeguards to the country's financial services as being neither necessary nor desirable.
"Contrary to what I often read, there is no plot. No plot to undermine the City. No plot to boost Paris or Frankfurt at the City," he continued.
Barnier said that the attempt to introduce unanimity voting [over financial services] would open the door for other countries to demand similar treatment in other sectors such as agriculture in France.
"Opening the door to unanimity on financial services would mean similar demands in other sectors from other member states. And that would spell the end of the single market," he said.