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Stop the EU Robin Hood Tax Talks from being derailed!

20 November 2018
Civil Society Organizations and Unions are calling for urgent pressure to be put on EU leaders following attempts by some member-states to scrap or derail the well-advanced negotiations on a Financial Transactions Tax.

The groups have launched a call for sign-ons, addressed to Finance Ministers from Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain - the core EU countries who have continued to perservere with the FTT proposals, despite refusal from other EU nations to engage.

The campaign for an FTT came into being and grew immensely popular across Europe as a direct response to the financial crisis, specifically to get the banks to pay for the bail-outs and economic downturn they caused and to stabilize the financial system. 10 years on, citizens are frustrated that politicians have dragged their feet, failing to deliver the FTT they promised, which would raise billions in extra revenue each year.

A new Franco-German proposal would open the conversation back up to all twenty-seven member states, effectively rendering the talks dead in the water as a dozen countries have already indicated they would reject an even weaker FTT proposal.
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Full text of the sign on letter:

For the attention of:

Minister of Finance Hartwig Löger, AUSTRIA

Minister of Finance Johan Van Overtveldt, BELGIUM

Minister of the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, FRANCE

Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz, GERMANY

Minister of Finance Euclid Tsakalotos, GREECE

Minister of Economy and Finance Giovanni Tria, ITALY

Minister of Finance Mário Centeno, PORTUGAL

Minister of Finance Peter Kažimír, SLOVAKIA

Minister of Finance Andrej Bertoncelj, SLOVENIA

Minister of Economy and Business Nadia Calviño, SPAIN

 

Do not derail the Robin Hood Tax, put the project back on track

We, the undersigned, civil society organisations and trade unions from X no. of member states, representing XXX of European citizens, campaigning for the achievement of the Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) - popularly known as the Robin Hood Tax -  are writing to express our deep concern at Minister Löger’s recent words in the media saying that the well-advanced FTT negotiations, conducted over many years, could be “scrapped”.

This is particularly difficult to understand given your historic agreement on the core elements of an FTT deal in October 2016 which, according to EC estimates (had the deal been finalised that year) would by now have generated more than €40 billion for public services and job creation in Europe, as well as the fight against poverty and pandemics around the world.

The campaign for an FTT came into being and grew immensely popular across Europe as a direct response to the financial crisis, specifically to get the banks to pay for the bail-outs and economic downturn they caused and to stabilize the financial system. 10 years on, citizens are frustrated that politicians have dragged their feet, failing to deliver the FTT they promised, which would raise billions in extra revenue each year. FTT revenue which is badly needed, not only to fund public goods in Europe, but also to support efforts particularly in poorest countries to further sustainable development, improve healthcare and combat climate change.

We are dismayed that after coming so close to an agreement, you have failed to move the talks forward over the last 2 years, forfeiting all the money that would have been raised.  During this period, critics have regularly cited Brexit as an excuse for not advancing the FTT, claiming it would scare the financial sector into relocating. However, nothing could be further from the truth. This is because the FTT is designed to take advantage of automated payment systems so that the tax gets paid wherever in the world a company trades. Whether the UK is a member of the EU has no bearing on this. Brexit is therefore not a reason for delay.

This Summer, France and Germany proposed an economic road map for the euro area, which includes a weak version of the FTT, that was immediately rejected by 12 Member States, including the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Finland and Sweden. The Franco-German plan moves the FTT negotiations back to the level of all 27 EU countries. However, a unanimous FTT agreement is not possible. It is precisely because the previous attempt failed that in 2013 countries who did not want to be held back were granted a way forward using the Enhanced Cooperation Procedure. Why abandon this perfectly good road to an FTT agreement for the sake of this new plan that, due to the countries that already oppose it, cannot succeed?  In light of this, we demand that you do not “scrap” your Enhanced Cooperation negotiations, especially after the immense work on the FTT file to date.

Particularly in prospect of the forthcoming EU elections, if Member States want to restore the trust of Europe’s electorates in your policies, please restart your 10-country FTT negotiations immediately and advance them to a speedy conclusion. The FTT remains hugely popular and respected - more than 1 million EU citizens have signed the FTT petition, more than 1000 economists claim the FTT will make the financial system more stable - please ensure it is agreed at the earliest possible time so the revenues it generates can be immediately put to good use.

We look forward to receiving your response at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

To sign on to the letter, follow this link.

Read more about the ongoing EU FTT deliberations here.

Also see