German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet could approve a bank levy to cover the cost of future financial bailouts as early as next week, a government spokesman said Monday.
Ulrich Wilhelm said the levy is part of a "strategy to minimize the systemic risks posed by big banks" and oblige them to "bear the costs of coping with the crisis."
Wilhelm said the proposed levy complements a financial regulation bill being promoted in the U.S. by the White House and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, which would probably require the largest financial companies to pay a combined $50 billion into a fund that one day could be used to prevent a company from failing.
Merkel wants members of the Group of 20 industrialized and developing nations to agree to international financial regulations that could include such a bank levy. "Such coordinated action … is also possible with the model that we are pursuing," Wilhelm said.
Merkel's cabinet will discuss the new regulations at its regular meeting next week, he said. French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde will also attend the meeting as part of a preplanned bilateral exchange.
Leaders from the three parties in Merkel's center-right government agreed to pursue the levy during a meeting at her offices Sunday.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble planned to discuss the specifics of the new regulations with coalition lawmakers Monday, said his spokesman, Michael Offer.
He said the details have not been finalized.
Another person in the Finance Ministry said an internal report had concluded that a levy modeled on the U.S. proposal could generate up to 9 billion euros ($12.2 billion) a year.