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​‘Robin Hood’ wins: EU to levy Financial Transactions Tax from 2016

Published time: May 06, 2014 14:02
Reuters / Tobias Schwarz

Reuters / Tobias Schwarz

The EU has established a financial accord on an EU financial transactions tax to be implemented from 2016. Eleven EU member states will be imposing a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions, after it was proposed in 2011 to counter financial crises.

The tax was proposed three years ago by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy to encourage banks to pay for the crippling financial crisis which had struck the eurozone, plunging a range of countries, including Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, deep into debt.

“I believe we will reach a political agreement on a financial transactions tax, all ministers are ready,” Luis de Guindos, Spain's economy minister, told reporters ahead of the accord being reached. “I hope we will reach agreement on the assets to be included, mainly shares and some derivatives.”

Once passed, the FTT will be adopted by 11 EU states, excluding Britain, from January 2016. Out of the 27 EU member states, those which will be implementing the tax are France, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Austria, Belgium, Slovenia and Slovakia.

However, questions regarding how the tax will be imposed and how high it will be are still undecided.

Not all countries have been supportive. London has claimed that the FTT will cause financial damage to British firms.

“The government is determined to continue to ensure that the interests of countries outside of the single currency, but inside the single market, are properly protected,” a UK Treasury spokesman told the BBC last week.

The tax has frequently been described as a ‘Robin Hood Tax’ in reference to the legend of the medieval tight-wearing, anti-poverty campaigner Robin Hood, who supposedly robbed the rich to give to the poor.

“If governments took a tiny tax from international bankers’ transactions, it could generate hundreds of billions of pounds every year,” the UK-based Facebook ‘Robin Hood tax’ page states.

“This is a fight between bankers and Robin Hood,” said Natalia Alonso, a campaigner at Oxfam, told Reuters on Tuesday. “We are saying that the money raised with this tax should go to fighting poverty.”

The promise to impose the tax comes ahead of European elections, during which a swerve to the right has been anticipated. However, experts have stated that difficulties in the reality of implementing the tax mean that the policy could be shelved over the next couple of years, according to Reuters.

“The lack of information on the proposal is a real problem,” Anders Borg, the Swedish finance minister and long-term critic of the project, told the agency.

Comments (16)


georgen 16.06.2014 16:10

Robin Hood did the opposite - he robbed the rich to HELP the poor.
In this case, it's the poor that will be robbed - AGAIN!


EUUSR 16.06.2014 14:59

The EU like all these devious global warming taxes is simply trying to use hate towards banks as a justification to tax you more while not actually fixing the banks.

Wake up. Geeze, this game is getting tiring. It’s all about tax and control and finding ways to make it palatable to the public. "I hate banks therefore I am going to accept more taxes even though it won’t solve the problems with the banks"

EU = amoeba


EUUSR 16.06.2014 14:54

The FTT is just another method for the EU to get its hands on another income tax stream.

The EU is a like a cancerous tumour that develops its own blood supplies to keep it alive and growing.

Sa les tax is basically a transaction tax. The FTT appeals to small minded people because it appeals to beating banks and only taking a little amount all the time.

If you want to stop reckless trading then make it criminal to undertake certain types of transactions and also separate commercial and retail divisions of banks so risk is not externalised to the public from commercial casino type trades.

EU = Amoeba intellect.

View all comments (16)
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