Eleven European Union countries agree to implement Robin Hood tax

23 January 2013
One thousand people demonstrating for a robin hood tax
On 22 January, 11 countries, including four of the biggest economies in Europe, agreed to implement a financial transactions tax. The new leader of the global union federation Public Services International, Rosa Pavanelli, welcomes this initiative: “Fair taxation is key to the equitable redistribution of wealth. We believe the funds raised from such a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ should be used to support sustainable jobs, tackle poverty and inequality, make public services such as healthcare accessible to all, and strengthen the global fight against climate change. An FTT will also help to curb runaway financial speculation.”

At PSI’s  recent World Congress, members adopted a resolution backing the implementation of a financial transactions tax in countries around the world. Pavanelli adds, “PSI is proud of our role in promoting a financial transactions tax through targeted campaigning working with our affiliates and allies. We are committed to continuing to lobby for the introduction of such a tax across the world, to benefit the common good.”

EPSU General Secretary Carola Fischbach- Pyttel says, “The Eurozone countries are right to go ahead with a financial transaction tax as it will spread the cost of the crisis on to those that actually caused it, benefit jobs and growth, provide much needed public resources for socially useful goods and services and contribute to fair and progressive taxation.”

The next step is for the European Commission to make a formal proposal for the tax. The proposal will be based on one introduced by the Commission in September 2011 that would involve a harmonised minimum 0.1% tax rate for trades of stocks and bonds and a 0.01% rate for derivatives trades. As described in the European Council statement, the aim of this proposal is “for the financial industry to make a fair contribution to tax revenues, whilst also creating a disincentive for transactions that do not enhance the efficiency of financial markets.”

The proposed tax is based on the “residence principle,” meaning that a financial transaction would be taxed in each case where a resident of one of the participating EU member states was involved even if the transaction was carried out in a country that is not a participant.

The tax proposal will have to be adopted by unanimous agreement of the participating member states. The EU’s tax commissioner says it is possible that the tax could enter into force beginning January 1, 2014.

The UK Trade Unions Congress has urged its government to end its isolation on the Robin Hood Tax. TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady says: “Introducing a Robin Hood Tax to curb gambling and speculation on the money markets while funding sustainable growth and tackling poverty would be one of the most popular things the EU could do, as opinion polls have repeatedly shown. It is a shame that our government is putting its friends in the City ahead of the interests of the British people once again.”

PSI continues to support its affiliates in Asia, the Americas, and Africa, in their ongoing national Robin Hood Tax campaigns.  

Please share the great photos of PSI’s colourful public action: “A thousand Robin Hoods call for a tax for the common good” at the PSI World Congress in Durban, South Africa http://bit.ly/11RfMQj

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