Education International
Education International

France: Budget law includes a financial transaction tax

published 6 August 2012 updated 20 August 2012

EI welcomes France’s new budget law, adopted by both parliamentary houses and including a 0.2 per cent tax on the purchase and sale of stocks in French companies with more than €1 billion in market capitalisation. This tax, implemented since 1 August, is double the 0.1 per cent tax proposed by former President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The budget expects the tax to increase public revenues by €170 million in 2012 and by €500 million in 2013.

The French President, François Hollande, indicated in a speech earlier this summer that the revenues raised will be targeted to fund AIDS research.

AIDS campaign

“Stopping the AIDS pandemic worldwide, it’s possible,” Hollande said on 23 July at the 19th International AIDS Conference, organised by the International AIDS Society in Washington DC, USA.

“France, since the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and UNITAID, is largely involved in this common work,” he stated. “It is the Global Fund’s second financial donor, and it intends to continue with its contribution, diversifying it.

“We want to create innovative, additional financing. This is the meaning of the financial transaction tax that my country decided to implement as of the 1st of August. At the G20 meeting and the Rio Summit, I proposed to spread this tax at the European and global levels, so we have new resources to finance the fight against AIDS. In an economically and financially challenging context, the states and donors’ commitment is crucial… It is now up to us to stop the AIDS pandemic. If we decide to, we can.”

In Europe, Germany, Italy and Spain are all considering similar measures, while the UK unwaveringly opposes this approach.

EI: Financial transaction tax necessary

“Education is a human right and, therefore, sustained and sufficient public financing of education is necessary despite any economic downturn or budgetary contraction, in order to achieve that right for all,” said EI President Susan Hopgood.

“A financial transactions tax ensures the sustainability of publicly-funded, autonomous and democratically accountable public services, particularly education, which are part of the long-term solution to any economic downturn,” she added. “Also, the tax is not just a revenue generator, but is equally intended to curb financial speculation.”

Referring to the EI study on Global Corporate Taxation and Resources for Quality Public Services, Hopgood went on to deplore the fact that enormous sums of money escape any form of taxation by means of “tax haven” countries and offshore financial centres, depriving states of the revenue required to finance public services.

The Resolution on the Sustained Funding of Public Education in the midst of the Economic Crisis, adopted at the 6th EI World Congress meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa, in July 2011, also mandates the EI Executive Board to “organise a global campaign to achieve a minimum benchmark of the 6% of the gross domestic product for spending on education in all countries and for the adoption and implementation of the financial transaction tax and a financial activities tax which requires changes to economic and fiscal policies in order to increase the financial resources necessary to support all public services, including education.”

To find out more about the EI campaign on the impact of the crisis in education, please click here

The EI study on Global Corporate Taxation and Resources for Quality Public Services can be read here

To go to the Council of Global Union’s Quality Public Services - Action Now! campaign website, click here