EU ministers miss opportunity to send strong signal on FTT to COP in Paris

Today, finance ministers of 10 EU member states announced an agreement on aspects of a European Financial Transactions Tax, but there is still no progress on decisive elements. This is a missed chance to send an important signal to the Paris climate summit that EU member states are ready to raise new funds needed to tackle climate change.

Oxfam’s EU policy advisor on the Financial Transaction Tax, Javier Pereira, said:

“EU member states have missed the opportunity to agree on the design of an EU FTT and use it to broker a better climate deal for the whole world. With a lack of sufficient support for poor and vulnerable communities being a major obstacle to a successful agreement in Paris, this week would have been an ideal time to announce the FTT as a new source of climate finance.

“Estonia’s withdrawal shows the whole FTT project could be at risk if no progress is made soon. In their continuing negotiations, EU member states have to make sure the FTT will be a force for good in society. The tax revenue needs to be allocated to tackling poverty and inequality at home and abroad, and to addressing climate change."

Notes to editors: 
  • A leaked room document from yesterday’s meeting of the finance ministers shows that no real progress has been made since last time and that three key areas remain open: whether to tax derivatives linked to government debt, the territoriality of the tax for shares and a potential exception for market-makers dealing with shares.
  • With Estonia having withdrawn from the enhanced cooperation procedure, 10 eurozone countries will not continue discussions: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
  • Oxfam, together with active citizens around the world, calls for using FTT revenue to help the poorest. The Million Strong petition, a worldwide movement that collected over one million signatures in support of a small tax on banking transactions, calls for revenues raised by the tax to fight European and world poverty, fund health and education services in developing countries, fight youth unemployment and help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change. Signatories include tens of thousands of citizens from Germany, France, Spain and the UK. An ambitious FTT is also supported by many thousand economists, MEPs and high-profile public figures such as Bill Gates.
  • Developed countries have committed to mobilizing $100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020 to support climate adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. Financial needs are much larger, and public finance for adaptation will need to be scaled up after 2020. The new financial announcements made ahead of the Paris climate talks are welcome, but still leave the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the cold, with only $5bn and $8bn in adaptation grants being committed by 2020.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel, florian.oel@oxfaminternational.org, t +32 2 234 11 15, m +32 473 56 22 60

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