Britain remains firmly opposed to levying a tax on financial transactions, prompting European officials to consider alternatives, such as a pan-European stamp duty on share transactions. Some finance ministers are concerned that the discussion will fail to yield results. "We must not waste our time for years and not get a solution," said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, noting that if there isn't a consensus, "we are obliged to concentrate on alternatives -- the outcome of nothing would be disastrous."

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