Right at the end of an amazing week of progress in Europe for the financial transactions tax (known as the Robin Hood Tax in the UK), a meeting of heads of government from the 17 countries which use the Euro as their currency (not including the UK of course) agreed to take consideration of an FTT for the Eurozone further.
The final communique of the meeting in Brussels contained 8 areas of agreement including:
“8. The Heads of State or Government agree that the introduction of a financial transaction tax should be explored and developed further at the Euro area, EU and international levels”.
This was a major achievement for the Austrian, French and German governments (with the support of three other declared supporters: Belgium, Greece and Spain) who had indicated that they would push the issue, in two ways.
First, it marks the first formal agreement of Eurozone heads of government to consider such a tax; and second, it marks the first formal agreement to do so not once everyone else in the world has signed up, but at whatever level they can, including the Eurozone. It is only an agreement to consider the issue, but until they agree to do it, that’s obviously all that can be done, and coming on top of the European Parliament giving an even firmer commitment (but without the power to actually do it, which the Eurozone heads of government do) on Tuesday, it amounts to a major step forward in the campaign. It also includes 11 Eurozone countries which had not previously come out in favour of an FTT – most importantly, Italy, where the Zero Zero Cinque campaign has been growing in strength and activity in pressing for an FTT.