France pushes Financial Transaction Tax against brick wall blocking EU deal

Today finance ministers from EU countries, which agreed to implement a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) by the end next year, again failed to strike a deal on the critical substance on the scope of the tax. The main reason behind the current stalemate is France’s determination to put the interests of banks above those of people.

In response to this news, Natalia Alonso, Oxfam’s Deputy Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, said:

“This continued dawdling by finance ministers in agreeing the specifics of a tax on financial transactions is extremely worrying. If they continue to drag their feet, then the tax will not be in place by 2016, as planned, meaning yet another broken promise to EU citizens.

“French Finance Minister Michel Sapin’s stubbornness in protecting the banking system places the needs of banks over the needs of people, despite banks themselves causing the economic crisis. Sapin’s measly proposal would collect only a tenth of the possible tax revenue and has failed to gain the support of other ministers. It is dead in the water to everyone but himself.

“This dithering cannot go on any longer. The revenue provided by an effective FTT is desperately needed to improve the lives of millions of people the world over. Other leading countries, such as Germany, simply must propose a more expansive tax if the FTT is to be anything more than a financial damp squib that fails to raise the money needed to fight poverty and climate change.”

Notes to editors: 

The French proposal covers only shares, exempts the most speculative transactions as high frequency trading and 97% of derivatives products, which would raise less than €3 billion, which is one tenth of the €34 billion of revenue potential proposed by the European Commission in 2013.

The 11 EU participating countries are: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

Contact information: 

Angela Corbalán on + 32 (0) 473 56 22 60 or angela.corbalan@oxfaminternational.org