Robin Hood Tax takes major step forward in Europe; Liberals position unknown

Agreement among 10 European Union countries, including the 4 largest Eurozone members – Germany, France, Spain and Italy – to implement legislation for a financial transactions tax. This will mean that a sizable number of Europe’s financial transactions will be subjected to the tax.

Luxembourg (21 Oct. 2016) — The plan to implement a financial transaction tax (FTT), what is commonly referred to as the Robin Hood Tax, has taken a major step forward after political leaders from 10 European Union countries agreed to push ahead with plans. It is expected that plan could be published by December 2016.

10 countries commit to drafting legislation

During a late night meeting in Luxembourg officials committed to drafting legislation that would allow them to place a levy on financial transactions in their home countries

Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, told the media that "very important progress has been made on the FTT."

He added, "We are designing something which is ambitious and realistic. Hopefully in the weeks to come we will be capable of submitting drafts ... and adopt what could be the first European FTT."

France and Germany back the tax

Representatives from France and Germany both welcomed the agreement.

The French finance minister, Michel Sapin, is quoted as saying that "It is the first time we really have a clear agreement from all the countries."

This opinion was shared by Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, "I hope we will be able to meet the finish line later this year."

Pushing ahead despite opposition

While the original 2014 deadline for an EU-wide FTT faced a setback as a result of opposition from the UK and a number of non-Eurozone countries, including Sweden and the Czech Republic, 10 countries chose to push ahead with their own plans for the levy.

The new deal sees the 4 largest Eurozone members — Germany, France, Spain and Italy — taking part. This will mean that a sizable number of Europe’s financial transactions will be subjected to the tax.

Support for Robin Hood Tax in Canada

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is a supporter of the campaign to implement the Robin Hood Tax — a 0.05% (1/20th of 1%) tax on financial transactions, one that campaigners believe could generate $400 billion a year.

Funds from the tax would 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.

A Robin Hood Tax would also contribute to greater stability within the financial system by reducing speculation and excessive liquidity. The previous Conservative government opposed such a tax but the new Liberal government has been silent on the issue. 

"With the Liberals' promises during the 2015 electon to address income inequality, and its increased taxes on the wealthy, a Robin Hood Tax isn't that far away," said Larry Brown, President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). "This kind of tax would support the very issues that need attention. We'll be asking the government where it stands on a financial transaction taxes." 

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 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

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