Euro MPs Fight on For an EU Financial Transaction Tax

S&D Euro MPs accused some conservatives and liberals members of the European Parliament of hypocrisy for failing to back a call for a tax on financial transactions at EU level. The S&D members are to re-table the proposal at the March plenary session of the EP in Strasbourg.

The tax proposal was put to a vote yesterday in the economic and monetary committee as part of the report on innovative financing tools drafted by Socialist Anni Podimata. The call for an EU FTT received strong support but was not carried due to the objection of some conservatives and liberals members and resulted in a tied vote of 21 to 21.

Said Mrs Podimata: “Trillions of euros of taxpayers’ money were spent on saving the financial sector, creating huge deficits in most EU member states. These deficits are driving EU governments to drastically cut public spending in order to get their finances back in order. It is inconceivable that we ask EU member states and citizens to foot the bill — but we do not do the same thing for those institutions and toxic products that were the main causes of the crisis.

“We need to restore balance. The S&D group calls for a legislative proposal on a low rate EU tax on financial transactions to curb speculation, stabilise financial markets and generate 200 billion euros in revenues.

“The official position of the EPP opposing an EU FTT until we have a global agreement is hypocritical. Either they want to make the financial actors bear their fair share of the cost now or they don’t.”

Said S&D spokesman for economic and monetary affairs Udo Bullmann: “The EU is the biggest financial market in the world today. Europe can no longer hide behind the reluctance of its international partners but should lead the way both at global and at EU level.”

Mrs Podimata stressed the “inconsistency” of some of the right wing members who backed the same FTT proposal just few months ago in a special report on the financial crisis drafted by Pervenche Berès.

The S&D group will therefore table again the proposal on an EU FTT in view of the vote in the plenary session in March.

The report also takes note of all recent proposals and initiatives on Eurobonds as a common debt management instrument. It calls on the European Council and the Commission to study a future system of Eurobonds, with a clear specification of the conditions under which such a system would be beneficial to all participating member states and to the euro zone as a whole.

The report also makes a plea in favour of a comprehensive revision of the energy taxation directive to make CO2 emissions and energy content one of the basic criteria for the taxation of energy products.

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