Oxfam's EU Advocacy office in Brussels

Over 70 organisations have urged the Danish EU Presidency to speed up negotiations on a financial transaction tax (FTT) in a letter sent ahead of tomorrow’s EU Finance Ministers meeting, where an EU FTT will be up for discussion.

Signatories want to see EU finance ministers take concrete steps towards a decision on the FTT – otherwise know as the Robin Hood Tax – and stress that the opinions of opposing governments should not stop this from happening before the end of the Danish EU Presidency at the end of July.

Clearly, warm words on the FTT are no longer enough. It is time that European leaders stand up and be counted. They have a real opportunity to raise billions to help poor people here and overseas hit by the economic crisis, and to tackle climate change.

A letter recently sent by 9 EU Member States asking the Danish EU Presidency to accelerate the processs bears witness to the intention for the implementation of an FTT. Indeed, just a couple of weeks ago French parliament adopted an FTT that will be put in place in August.

Yet, as support grows for a European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) so do the number of negative myths being put forward by its opponents. These include the idea that a European FTT would:

  • cause business to relocate
  • negatively impact on growht and jobs
  • hit savings, pensions or small businesses
  • seize money to fill EU coffers in Brussels

We’ve pulled together an Oxfam media brief to bust these myths and to explain why the dominant criticisms of the FTT are wrong. Leading economist Professor S. Griffith- Jones and Professor Avinash Persuad have also published an opinion piece in the European Voice today, clearly laying out the reasons why critics are wrong about the financial transaction tax. Crucially, they point out that the total net effect of an FTT would be an estimated boost of Europe’s GDP by +0.25%, not a reduction.

The truth is that the UK and its friends in the financial sector have lost the moral and economic arguments. Not only is a Robin Hood Tax the right thing to do – the best evidence shows that far from reducing growth it would boost the economy. The Danish EU Presidency should heed the calls of civil society organisations and hit the accelerator for an EU wide FTT that can benefit those most in need.

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