British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are in complete agreement on moves to tax bankers' bonuses, Brown's spokesman said on Thursday after the two leaders met.
They are both completely aligned on the importance of that sort of scheme to ensure that going forward we don't repeat the same mistakes of the past and move toward an era of more responsible banking, spokesman Simon Lewis said.
He said Brown and Sarkozy met for around 30 minutes before a European Union summit and held tete-a-tete talks on the initiative, which in Britain's case involves imposing a 50 percent tax on bonuses above 25,000 pounds ($40,600).
German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the proposal as charming on Thursday. Lewis said Britain believed there was clear political support from Germany for a broader initiative, although he said it was up to individual countries to decide.
It's a very clear message coming out of Chancellor Merkel's team about their political support for what Britain and France have done in this respect, Lewis said.
They believe that this kind of approach is the right way to move forward in the banking sector. They are very supportive politically of what this initiative is about.
Asked if Brown expected all 27 EU leaders to take similar measures to rein in perceived excesses of the banking and financial services sector, whose costs have been borne by taxpayers, Lewis said countries should decide alone.
Obviously the prime minister would hope that this is something ... that can internationally be applied. But clearly it's not for Prime Minister Brown to enforce his views and every single banking and financial services sector is different.
(Reporting by Luke Baker; Editing by Dale Hudson)