October 26, 2010
It is shocking to see the European Commission backtracking from pushing for financial taxes to be on the agenda at the forthcoming G20 summit in Seoul in November. A global bank tax to help poor people survive the economic and climate crisis must be urgently agreed.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw the Commission put its head above the parapet as it published a paper proposing a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) at global level to raise money for development and climate change. The report also proposed that Europe should move unilaterally to a tax on financial activities, which could definitely also mobilise tens of billions of euros to tackle these pressing international challenges.
The EU cannot afford to bury its head in the sand just at the moment of truth. Shrinking away from taking bold steps will have an impact on both the lives of poor and vulnerable people and Europe’s international credibility.
EU heads of state, meeting this week in Brussels, must now take up this mantle and put financial taxes high up on their wish-list for the G20 summit if Europe is going to set the standard in Seoul.
Yet, as Oxfam underlines in its latest report ‘The Making of a Seoul Development Consensus: The essential development agenda for the G20’, it is not only by delivering on the FTT that Europe and the G20 can make a difference for developed and developing countries alike at this G20 summit.
The G20 should capitalise on Korea’s support to include development issues within the agenda to make progress on forging the right type of development consensus: one that uses growth to reduce inequalities, commits to tackling tax havens and fighting tax evasion and demonstrates leadership in advancing the fight against climate change.
European leaders can help make sure this happens.
Head of Oxfam International’s EU officeAuthor : Letters to the EurActiv editor