Brussels-based NGOs are deeply disappointed that European leaders have failed to agree on the introduction of an EU wide Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) at the EU Spring council on 25-26 March. The international alliance of Catholic development agencies CIDSE says a mini tax on short-term and high-risk transactions would stabilise the current financial system and generate millions of Euros badly needed to alleviate poverty and combat climate change. CIDSE campaigned for the inclusion of an EU wide adoption of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) on socially unproductive and speculative trading on financial markets in the run up to the Council.
Yesterday, while European leaders were arriving in Brussels to attend the Council, CIDSE, along with a coalition of development, environmental and health organizations, staged a ‘tug of war’. It saw bankers on the one side and Robin Hood, the symbol of a massive ongoing popular campaign demanding the adoption of a FTT, on the other, with EU leaders in the middle to decide if money should go to speculators or to people and the planet (see photo).
The European Parliament has asserted unequivocal support for robust and properly resourced EU action to tackle poverty and climate change and asked EU member states to agree on a financial transactions tax to help developing countries cope with the effects of the global financial and economic crisis. Despite broad public support and the backing of the European Parliament EU leaders have failed to come to terms on the FTT.