Oxfam reaction to EU Finance Ministers meeting: G20, Durban and market regulation

Published: 4 October 2011

About innovative financing for development and climate change

EU Finance Ministers today agreed their common position for the upcoming G20 Finance Ministers meeting on 14-15 October in Paris, as well as for the UN climate change summit in Durban, in South Africa, at the end of November.

Oxfam’s spokesperson Lies Craeynest said:

"A charge on dirty shipping fuels to finance climate action in poor countries could be the breakthrough the UN climate talks need. EU Finance Ministers have taken steps forward today by stressing the role of such innovative sources in raising public money. Now they must prepare for the final stretch before Durban. They should work with G20 partners to endorse the conclusions of the report to the G20 by the World Bank and IMF on raising new funds from shipping.

“This is the moment to act. After more than a decade of delay in dealing with the high and rising emissions from the shipping sector, the EU can broker an agreement that both tackles emissions and raises billions in new finance. That would be a double dividend for the climate and could be a major success in Durban.”

International development agency Oxfam says that alongside applying a carbon price to international shipping, a tax on financial transactions could also mobilize billions of Euros to meet the pledge made by rich countries at Copenhagen in 2009 to raise $100 billion per year by 2020 to help poor countries adapt to climate change and develop in a low carbon way.

Oxfam’s spokesperson Nicolas Mombrial said:

“A European Financial Transaction Tax is now on the verge of becoming a reality. Yet today's meeting was a missed opportunity to make progress on how this tax -supported by over 60% of Europeans- will be put into practice. EU leaders must deliver on this when they meet later this month in order to show the rest of the world that they are ready to move ahead with an FTT which should raise billions to help the poorest people and to fight climate change.”

About food speculation

EU Finance Ministers agreed a framework for negotiations with the European Parliament on the European Commission’s European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR), targeting the trillion dollar business in risky derivatives traded outside regulated exchanges (so-called OTC or Over-The-Counter derivatives).

Oxfam’s spokesperson Marc Olivier Herman:

“Today’s move by EU Finance Ministers is an important step towards ending excessive food speculation that is affecting millions of people worldwide, as food prices spiral out of control.

“We need a final agreement on EMIR by the end of this year. EU member states must resist the strong pressure from the financial industry and big businesses and put the interests of taxpayers and hungry people first.

"Europe must ensure tackling food speculation is part of a bold response from the G20 to put an end to food price volatility. If you’re earning €20 an hour, the rise in global food prices will eventually hit your pocket. But if you’re earning €20 a month, it can be the difference between eating or not.”

Read more

Oxfam-WWF report: “Out of the Bunker – Time for a fair deal on shipping emissions” 

Oxfam report: Europe should grasp opportunity for €210 billion “Robin Hood tax”

Oxfam report: Not a Game: Speculation vs Food Security: Regulating financial markets to grow a better future

Contact Information

Angela Corbalan on + 32 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org

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