Education International
Education International

FTT: European citizens exert pressure on Governments!

published 21 June 2012 updated 25 June 2012

EI European Region, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE), has joined a signature campaign promoting a financial transaction tax (FTT) at EU level. This campaign aims at exerting pressure on EU member countries’ finance ministers who will hold a policy debate on the EU Commission proposal on 22 June.

It is supported by a broad movement made up of trade unions, political and civil society organisations.

ETUCE Director, Martin Rømer, said: “Education unions consider the introduction of a financial transaction tax  throughout the EU as a key measure to meet the costs of the financial crisis, help address soaring unemployment rates, and achieve developments in health, education and climate change.”

European Transaction Tax to counter the crisis

In 2011, as a result of public pressure, a majority of the European Parliament came out in support of the FTT at EU level. Subsequently, citizens from all parts of the continent have urged the Commission to follow this decision. To ensure that the financial sector makes a fair contribution to public finances and for the benefit of citizens and Member States, the European Commission put forward a proposal in September 2011 for a financial transaction tax (FTT). On the 23 May, 2012, the European Parliament voted in favour of a financial transaction tax, with a vote of 487 out of 685 in favour.

The European Commission repeated, on 13 June, that it was still giving priority to the introduction of a FTT throughout the EU.

The ball is now in the corner of the Council of the EU in which all Member States are represented. The rule is simple: with respect to tax issues, a Commission proposal must be unanimously accepted. If one country exercises its veto, the proposal will fail at EU level. Intensive negotiations on the Commission’s proposal are currently taking place. Sweden and the United Kingdom are opposed to the proposal for the introduction of a European FTT and a number of eurozone countries, including Luxembourg, are very reluctant.

The FTT pursues two goals: to regulate the financial market and generate public revenue.

FTT has fair burden sharing, redistributive and regulatory effects

The financial sector is under-taxed and has caused the financial crisis. It should therefore pay its fair share and contribute to counteracting the negative effects of the crisis it has triggered. Only those who make money with money will be affected by this tax: the speculators. Raising revenue for progressive policies is a way to relaunch the economy.

The implementation of a Europe-wide FTT would generate massive revenue, which could be spent on progressive policies such as social, global and environmental projects and would therefore benefit everyone. Therefore, even an extremely low tax rate of 0.05% would generate considerable and urgently needed extra revenue of up to € 250 billion per year.

Crisis must not be paid by workers

Citizens should not have to foot the bill when the failures of the financial institutions lead to economic and financial crises. The FTT would ensure that those who caused the crisis will finally contribute their share.

Learn more about developments around this campaign here!