Oxfam calls for the European FTT to be a Robin Hood tax

Published: 22nd January 2013

Reacting to the vote of the European Finance Ministers in favour of the 'enhanced cooperation procedure' for a financial transaction tax in eleven European countries, Nicolas Mombrial, Oxfam’s EU policy adviser, said:

“This historic vote sends a clear message Europe’s biggest economies are ready to make the financial sector pay to clear up the mess it helped to cause. It is an example the rest of Europe and the world should follow.

“By tackling the worst excesses of casino capitalism, the FTT can stem the tide of growing inequality and make the financial system work for the whole of humanity rather than a global elite.

“But it will only be a Robin Hood Tax if a big chunk of the estimated €37 billion annual revenue is used to help poor people at home and abroad who have been hit hardest by the economic crisis and climate change."

Note for the editors

  • 11 countries are going ahead with an European FTT (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain).
  • Based on the initial European Commission proposal, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) estimates that a financial transactions tax implemented in 11 countries could raise €37bn. 

What a difference can an FTT make:

  • €37bn a year represent €101 million a day, €4.2m an hour; €70,000 a minute and €1,173 a second.
  • If half of the FTT revenue goes to development, it could help about 550 million people in the poorest countries to access free healthcare.
  • Just a third of the revenues of the EU 11 FTT could fill the funding gap in the area of basic education so all children in the poorest countries could attend school  (UNESCO Report UNESCO (2010)
  • Allocating a quarter of this sum to the Green Climate Fund would guarantee an annual predictable replenishment of almost €10bn into the Fund which currently still stands empty.

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Contact information

Gaëlle Bausson on +32 473 562 260 or gaelle.bausson@oxfaminternational.org