By John O’Donnell
BRUSSELS, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Sweden’s finance minister called on European counterparts to follow U.S. President Barack Obama’s lead with a bank tax to recoup the cost of propping up the industry but the idea received a guarded response.
Obama proposed last week that Wall Street pay up to $117 billion via a special levy to reimburse taxpayers for the financial bailout, saying “fat cat” bankers were making massive profits and “obscene” bonuses.
“We cannot accept a situation where the bankers are running away from the bill,” Sweden’s Anders Borg said on Tuesday at a meeting of European Union finance ministers, outlining his ideas for a bank tax or levy based on that in the U.S. and Sweden.
However, while Germany, France and Britain all hailed Obama’s new levy last week, they said they would press on with their own ideas.
Earlier on Tuesday German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signalled an approaching international agreement on measures for the banking sector to share the costs of bailouts. [ID:nLDE60I0E5]