By an overwhelming majority of 533 in favour to 91 against (and 32 abstentions), the European Parliament approved the plan of 11 Eurozone member states for enhanced cooperation, with the aim of establishing a tax on financial transactions.
As stated during the deliberations by rapporteur Anni Podimata (S&D, EL), whose resolution was adopted, “[t]his is a reward for Parliament, which has been calling for an FTT for over two years. It will contribute to shifting the burden from the citizens to the financial industry - which has not yet contributed its fair share to the cost of the crisis. It will target the most speculative activities and at the same time provide finances equal to more than half of the EU's annual budget at a time of intense fiscal consolidation."
According to Oxfam’s EU Policy Adviser Nicolas Mombrial:
“The European Parliament's overwhelming support for an FTT reflects the will of Europe's people. It is a clear message to finance ministers to give the green light to the proposal to make banks pay their fair share.
“In cash-strapped times, an FTT is a no-brainer that is morally right, technically feasible, and economically sound. It will generate at least €37 billion annually which should be used to help poor people at home and abroad who have been hit hardest by the economic crisis and climate change.”
The countries participating in the enhanced cooperation process are: Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
Next step: qualified majority vote at the Council, in order to allow the Commission to initiate enhanced cooperation.
Note: as stated in CrisisWatch 8, the initial letter of German and French finance ministers Schaeuble and Moscovici does not include any mention to commitments on the allocation of the collected revenue. Hence, hopes for a true “Robin Hood tax”, which would place a fair burden on the financial sector in order to tackle poverty and the environmental crisis, are still quite a long way from becoming real. At a national level however, French PM François Hollande has already committed to allocating 10% of the French FTT to tackling poverty and climate change.