Eurogroup approves Robin Hood tax

Eleven Eurozone countries (Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Belgium, Estonia, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia) have been authorized to start working on a financial transactions tax (the so-called Robin Hood tax). Eurozone finance ministers have given the green light to the measure today, during the Eurogroup meeting held in Brussels.

The tax is based on an idea put forward by the economist James Tobin over forty years ago and its current application is aimed at controlling banks and speculative activities, such as high frequency operations, as each agreement will be taxed.

Spanish borrowing costs fall sharply at auction

The Spanish Tesoro Público held a debt auction on Tuesday during which it sold 2.9 billion euros worth of 3- and 6- month bonds.

1.206 billion euros of 3-month bonds were auctioned at an average yield of 0.441%, compared with 1.195% seen at the previous auction. 1.578 billion euros worth of 6-month bonds, were sold at an average yield of 0.888% versus the previous 1.609%.

Following the auction Spanish risk premium remained at the level of 355 points.

Ireland and Portugal ask Eurogroup for repayment extension on aid

Ireland and Portugal are seeking better conditions on the repayment of the received aid. The aim is to extend the payment of maturities further down the road.

Ireland's finance minister is looking for such an option in order to ease the country's near-term burden and accelerate the return to normal borrowing conditions in the financial markets, after being locked out of them back in September of 2010.

As Reuters notes: "Ireland's Michael Noonan told journalists he and his Portuguese peer had presented a joint request for an extension of the maturity of the loans from the European Financial Stability Facility."

Reuters adds, quoting Noonan: "We arranged a way of presenting a joint request. If you had a term loan to build an extension to your house and you were able to convert it into a mortgage which you will extend over a long period, you can see that your repayment profile will come down. It has been referred to a group of officials to examine it."

Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing president of the Eurogroup, is thought to examine the request in the case of Portugal.
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