Overwhelming majority at European Parliament backs EU-wide tax on financial transactions

Today, the European Parliament voted in favour of an European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), with 487 votes in favour out of 685.

The vote took place a few hours before an EU 'growth summit' in Brussels where EU leaders will discuss the possibility of introducing an FTT.

Nicolas Mombrial, Oxfam’s EU policy advisor, said:

“EU leaders meeting today cannot afford to ignore this overwhelming vote in favour of an EU-wide tax on financial transactions. Latest polls show two-thirds of Europeans support an FTT, which helps explain why MEPs from all political parties and from countries opposing the tax, such as the UK and the Netherlands, voted in favour.

“We are delighted that the European Parliament has listened to campaigners around the world and wants part of the cash raised by an FTT to be used to help poor people at home and abroad hit by the economic crisis and to combat climate change.”

Additional quotes by Cortés Lastra MEP & Commissioner Šemeta from this morning debate

Ricardo Cortés Lastra, MEP from the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S & D), said: “Part of the funds from an FTT should be spent to eradicate poverty around the world."

Algirdas Šemeta, European Commissioner for Taxation, said: “From a small tax we can generate substantial revenues to finance growth-enhancing measures, support growth-friendly tax reforms or help fund global challenges such as development and climate change.”

Notes to Editors

Latest European Parliament Eurobarometer showing two-thirds of Europeans support an FTT (22 May): http://www.europarl.europa.eu/aboutparliament/en/00191b53ff/Eurobarometer.html?tab=2012_2

The European Commission’s most up-to-date assessment of the impact of an FTT shows that it could have a positive effect on growth. Implementing the tax would lower growth by an average of just 0.004 per cent per year in the coming decades (-0.28% by 2050) but if a significant portion of the revenue was invested in “growth enhancing public investment”, the overall effect would be positive.

Leading economists Stephany Griffith Jones and Avinash Persaud recently published a paper showing that an FTT would increase European growth by a minimum of 0.25 per cent by 2050.

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The Robin Hood Tax

Contact information: 

In Brussels: Angela Corbalan on + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org