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The parliament met last week to agree on amendments to the directive, which, if eventually carried, would reduce the ten-year derogation to two and the five-year introductory period also to two. This would mean that instead of a 15-year period of grace once the final decision to introduce droit de suite here was taken, the trade would be faced with the tax in full after just four years. Other proposed amendments include rate changes at the top end and the possible removal of the capped rate.

The move by the European Parliament is only the third stage in the lengthy process of coming to a decision on the directive. It started with a first reading in the parliament before going to the Council of Ministers, where the UK government pressed hard and long to achieve unanimity in reducing the impact of droit de suite. The latest stage, during which the parliament introduced its amendment proposals, came during the second reading. Now there will be a period of conciliation between the parliament and the Council of Ministers, which should be completed by the end of March.

Anthony Browne, chairman of BAMF, was disappointed by the latest development but remained sanguine. “The British government have done a fantastic job in achieving unanimity in the Council of Ministers and I am confident they will continue to fight to maintain the common position,” he said.

If the government is successful, the parliament could bow to the common position, but the alternative outcome would be some sort of compromise between the two positions.