European campaigners for Robin Hood Tax are optimistic but see next eight weeks as crucial ones for the campaign.
London (19 Sept. 2011) – European campaigners for a Robin Hood Tax are optimistic that France and Germany will continue to push for implementation of the tax in upcoming meetings.
Recently the French and German Finance Ministers sent EU Commissioners a letter making formal proposals for a broad-based Financial Transaction Tax (FTT but also commonly referred to as a Robin Hood Tax). Crucially, they say “we believe the European Union should lead the global mobilisation on this issue.”
The FTT is a tiny tax, a fraction of a percent, on financial transactions that could be used to fund efforts to fight poverty and climate change. Supporters also think that it would also dampen financial speculation, one of the main drivers of the recession that started in 2008. The tax would not apply to the overwhelming majority of citizens.
Letter sends strong message
The letter was sent from the German and French Finance Ministers to EU Internal Market Commissioner and Tax Commissioner (see full text of the letter here ). Key comments in the letter include:
“A global financial transaction tax would achieve the two-fold objective of establishing fair burden-sharing and economic efficiency. …[But] we strongly believe that the implementation of a financial transaction tax at the European level would be a crucial step on the path to reaching a global consensus in a way that does not affect European competitiveness.
“The tax base should be broad and cover all financial transactions related to financial instruments such as equities, bonds, currency transactions and derivatives. A low tax rate should be considered in order to minimize the risk of distortions and circumvention.”
Meanwhile, the European Commission is planning a discussion at the EU Finance Ministers' meeting at the beginning of October.
Also, Bill Gates is finalizing the report French President, and G20 chair, Nicolas Sarkozy, asked him to prepare on innovative financing for development. This report is to be discussed at a joint meeting of G20 finance and development ministers in Washington at the end of September. After which, it will go to the formal G20 summit in Cannes in November.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a strong advocate for the Robin Hood Tax. To date the Harper government has opposed the FTT but it is hoped that their position will change as a result of the growing international support.
In a letter to Sarkozy, NUPGE President James Clancy said the tax "offers an elegant and effective measure to address a wide range of global problems - most notably poverty and climate change."
Furthermore, these "funds could be used to pay for the social costs of the economic crisis, to fight global poverty, to meet global public needs such as health care and to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE