"It is a milestone for EU tax policy, as it paves the way for more ambitious member states to progress on a tax file, even when unanimity could not be achieved," said Algirdas Semeta, the european commissioner for tax.
Brussels (23 Jan. 2013) - Finance Ministers for the European Union (EU) have approved, under "enhanced cooperation" rules, the introduction of a new tax on financial transactions by 11 eurozone members.
While not all 27 members of the EU or the 17 members of the eurozone will be introducing the tax some of the regions largest economic players, in particular France and Germany, will be introducing a financial transactions tax (FTT) or commonly referred to as the Robin Hood Tax.
"It is a milestone for EU tax policy, as it paves the way for more ambitious member states to progress on a tax file, even when unanimity could not be achieved," said Algirdas Semeta, european commissioner for tax.
"Those who want to move ahead, and who appreciate the merits of working more closely on taxation at EU level, can do so."
Supporters for the Robin Hood Tax worldwide, including the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), have welcomed the news.
Nicolas Mombrial, Oxfam’s EU policy adviser, said that “this historic vote sends a clear message Europe’s biggest economies are ready to make the financial sector pay to clear up the mess it helped to cause. It is an example the rest of Europe and the world should follow.
“By tackling the worst excesses of casino capitalism, the FTT can stem the tide of growing inequality and make the financial system work for the whole of humanity rather than a global elite.
“But it will only be a Robin Hood Tax if a big chunk of the estimated €37 billion annual revenue is used to help poor people at home and abroad who have been hit hardest by the economic crisis and climate change."
The 11 countries going ahead with an European FTT are Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. Based on the initial European Commission proposal, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) estimates that an FTT implemented in 11 countries could raise $58 billion Canadian.
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