Angela Merkel Ally Warns On Robin Hood Tax

Tensions Between Britain And Germany Over Euro Crisis

Britain has been warned by a senior ally of German chancellor Angela Merkel that it would not "get away with" looking after its own interests at the expense of Europe.

Volker Kauder criticised the coalition Government's opposition to a financial transaction tax, insisting the UK had responsibility for "making Europe a success".

His comments will ratchet up tensions between London and Berlin ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister David Cameron and Mrs Merkel on Friday.

Chancellor George Osborne warned on Monday that a Europe-only financial transaction tax - also known as a Tobin tax or Robin Hood tax - would be "a bullet aimed at the heart of London". He added it would be "economic suicide" for the EU to impose the tax unilaterally, giving a massive advantage to rivals like the US and China.

However Mr Kauder, parliamentary leader of Mrs Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, told the party's congress: "I can understand that the British don't want that when they generate almost 30% of their gross domestic product from financial-market business in the City of London.

"But Britain also carries responsibility for making Europe a success. Only being after their own benefit and refusing to contribute is not the message we're letting the British get away with."

Mr Kauder also claimed that Europe was falling in with Germany's approach as it tackled economic crisis. "Now all of a sudden, Europe is speaking German. Not as a language, but in its acceptance of the instruments for which Angela Merkel has fought so hard, and with success in the end."

His intervention will infuriate eurosceptics in the Conservative Party who feel vindicated in their opposition to the European single currency by the crisis now racking the eurozone.

Mr Cameron was last month hit by a rebellion of 81 Tory MPs demanding a referendum on British membership of the EU.

Plans for a financial transaction tax have been proposed by the European Commission to help raise money for a eurozone bailout. Brussels believes it could raise up to £35 billion.


What's Hot