Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

Lobbying to kill off Robin Hood

Big banks and financial companies are doing their best to stop the introduction of a financial transaction tax (FTT) in the European Union. A proposal for an FTT is on the table, but still has to be approved by the Council. The industry has put all its lobbying machinery to work, implementing a scaremongering strategy, to convince member states to reject the tax. There is a real risk that their lobbying will pay off, either by defeating the entire idea of taxing transactions, or by watering down an already timid proposal.

  • Dansk
  • Nederlands
  • English
  • Suomi
  • Français
  • Deutsch
  • Ελληνικά
  • Italiano
  • Bokmål
  • Polski
  • Portuguese
  • Română
  • Slovenščina
  • Español
  • Svenska

A financial transactions tax, commonly dubbed a “Robin Hood tax”, is a simple tax on all  financial transactions. Since the ATTAC-movement and the tax justice movement picked up the issue more than a decade ago, the popularity of the idea has grown steadily. It now looks as though it might be possible to introduce such a tax in a large area in Europe. Many groups have called for such a tax to be introduced at a global level in order to collect money for development or for the fight against climate change.



The EU's proposal does not have such global ambitions, but is  intended  to discourage speculation and create a new revenue stream. At a time when citizens are keen for the financial sector to contribute to the costs of the crisis, some European leaders have started to push for an FTT at an EU level. The European Parliament has also pledged its support and the Commission, which was previously reluctant, has finally put a proposal on the table.



Throughout all this process, big banks and financial companies have been lobbying hard to try to stop the FTT or at least water it down. There is a lot of money at stake, so they are using all their tools: privileged access to the political powers, threats to relocate, scaremongering and the selective use of data... And although it may seem that they are losing the battle, the war is not over yet.  The FTT still needs to be approved by the Council.



The industry has been lobbying, not only in the EU, but also at the national level, to convince member states to reject a financial transactions tax. Some governments have already declared whose side they are. The UK  stated early on that it would veto the proposals and Sweden  is also opposed. Some Eurozone countries, such as Ireland  and The Netherlands are also reluctant, while France and Germany have become its main champions, and together with seven other EU countries, including Spain, Belgium and Greece, have signed a letter to the Danish EU presidency in support.



Nothing has yet been decided, but with this division it seems unlikely that an agreement will be reached, either at the EU or at the Eurozone level. Some voices are already calling for alternatives and it is becoming more and more likely that a watered down tax may be put forward, perhaps a little like the stamp duty reserve tax in the UK, which is a tax on shares, but not a real transaction tax. Campaigners say this would be a lost opportunity to make real change in order to curb speculation and regulate a dangerously deregulated financial sector which led the EU to the current crisis.

 

Read the full report below.

Attached files: 
A financial transactions tax, commonly dubbed a “Robin Hood tax”, is a simple tax on all  financial transactions. Since the ATTAC-movement and the tax justice movement picked up the issue more than a decade ago, the popularity of the idea has grown steadily. It now looks as though it might be possible to introduce such a tax in a large area in Europe. Many groups have called for such a tax to be introduced at a global level in order to collect money for development or for the fight against climate change.The EU's proposal does not have such global ambitions, but is  intended  to discourage speculation and create a new revenue stream. At a time when citizens are keen for the financial sector to contribute to the costs of the crisis, some European leaders have started to push for an FTT at an EU level. The European Parliament has also pledged its support and the Commission, which was previously reluctant, has finally put a proposal on the table.Throughout all this process, big banks and financial companies have been lobbying hard to try to stop the FTT or at least water it down. There is a lot of money at stake, so they are using all their tools: privileged access to the political powers, threats to relocate, scaremongering and the selective use of data... And although it may seem that they are losing the battle, the war is not over yet.  The FTT still needs to be approved by the Council.The industry has been lobbying, not only in the EU, but also at the national level, to convince member states to reject a financial transactions tax. Some governments have already declared whose side they are. The UK  stated early on that it would veto the proposals and Sweden  is also opposed. Some Eurozone countries, such as Ireland  and The Netherlands are also reluctant, while France and Germany have become its main champions, and together with seven other EU countries, including Spain, Belgium and Greece, have signed a letter to the Danish EU presidency in support.Nothing has yet been decided, but with this division it seems unlikely that an agreement will be reached, either at the EU or at the Eurozone level. Some voices are already calling for alternatives and it is becoming more and more likely that a watered down tax may be put forward, perhaps a little like the stamp duty reserve tax in the UK, which is a tax on shares, but not a real transaction tax. Campaigners say this would be a lost opportunity to make real change in order to curb speculation and regulate a dangerously deregulated financial sector which led the EU to the current crisis. Read the full report below.
 

Subject of the Luxleaks scandal, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is also advising the Commission on tackling tax dodging
As MEPs prepare to quiz Jonathan Hill again, the UK commissioner-designate allocated the portfolio of financial services, and Hill refuses to answer MEPs' question about his former financial lobby clients, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) exposes further information about Hill's career as a lobbyist.
Newly-released documents show that as far as financial regulation is concerned, lobbyists are besieging the Commission – which has an open door policy towards them. Can the new Commission fare better? And why is its prospective commissioner responsible for this area, Jonathan Hill, a former financial lobbyist?
The announcement today that Jean-Claude Juncker, president-elect of the European commission, will hand responsibility for financial services to Jonathan Hill compounds CEO's view that British PM David Cameron should withdraw his nomination of Hill.
Corporate Europe Observatory needs to raise €3000 to challenge dirty energy corporations who are trying to hijack the UN climate negotiations this December in Lima (COP 20), building a strong voice to carry through 2015 when governments meet again for the crucial talks in Paris.
An analysis of the revised independence policy of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). More reworded than revised, actually.
The EU's Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada could unleash a wave of corporate lawsuits against Canada, the EU and its member states – including through the Canadian subsidiaries of US multinational corporations. This is the result of an in-depth analysis of CETA’s investor rights by Corporate Europe Observatory and 14 other environmental NGOs, citizens’ groups and workers unions from both sides of the Atlantic published today.
The position of Chief Scientific Adviser to the President of the European Commission has been discontinued, and the Juncker Commission says it is now reflecting on how to organise independent scientific advice. This is a crucial issue and, together with many other NGOs, we sent a list of principles to the Commission on how to, in our opinion, try to best do this.

Corporate Europe Forum