Last week was a frantic one for the Robin Hood Tax campaign. As world leaders gathered for a string of global Summits - from the G20 in Mexico, the Rio+20 in Brazil, and European crisis talks about the Eurozone, the merry-men and women of Sherwood Forest were busy making their presence felt around the world.
Things kicked off in Washington with the launch of a new Robin Hood Tax campaign in the US. The campaign has the backing of Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo, who are leading the ‘Masked Money Movement’ – spreading the campaign across the country by inviting supporters to draw a Robin Hood hat and mask on dollar bills.
On Friday, Robin Hood Tax campaigners from the ZeroZeroFive coalition in Italy delivered a football themed stunt! As leaders from France, Germany, Spain and Italy met in Rome to discuss the Eurozone crisis and the FTT, campaigners showed these leading Eurozone countries can score a goal that will go down in history!
Last week also saw some new and unlikely allies join the campaign. A group of high profile financiers wrote to European and G20 leaders calling on them to back Financial Transaction Taxes (FTTs). This is the first time that such a large group of financiers has broken ranks with the financial services industry; their letter called for the introduction of FTTs to raise revenue for “people in urgent need at home and in the world’s poorest countries”.
A European Financial Transactions Tax
So what was the real outcome of a week of intense campaigning and Summits? After months of EU consultations, impact assessments and stalled negotiations, a breakthrough emerged from a meeting of European Finance Ministers in Luxembourg. A coalition of European countries agreed to bypass opposition from the UK and Sweden, and move ahead with plans for a European Financial Transactions Tax.
Speaking at the EU Finance Ministers' meeting last week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that ten countries were prepared to use the EU process known as 'enhanced cooperation' to work together to introduce the tax. Led by France and Germany, the coalition represents at least 90% of the Eurozone’s GDP, and could raise nearly 40 billion Euros.
This is a huge step forward, but there is still a long way to go to. Ensuring that the revenue from a European Financial Transaction Tax is allocated to good causes is the next big battle. The vocal support of European leaders like President Hollande of France and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso this week, who championed the idea of FTT being allocated, in part, towards fighting poverty and climate change, shows that we’re on the right track. There’s more work to be done, but for now – the merry-men and women of Sherwood are celebrating!
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