Robin Hood Tax could be the price banks pay for EU bailouts
It’s often suggested that the EU bailouts for countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal are a solidarity gesture for profligate peripheral countries when in fact they’re rescue operations designed to prevent contagion (ie the domino-like impact of one government going bust on all the others) and prevent the collapse of northern European banks who lent to the governments now in trouble. So EU bailouts, funded by northern European taxpayers, are not so much solidarity as self-help – or showing solidarity with northern European banks, rather than southern European governments.
Put like that, the position of parties like the True Finns, who have capitalised on the false image that the prudent rich are bailing out the profligate poor, look like turkeys voting for Christmas. Banks must be really worried the True Finns will triumph, and derail the bailouts – and if they’re scared, then that’s our opportunity, as the Finnish social democrats proved last night by making their support for Finland’s agreement to the bailouts conditional on the introduction of a Robin Hood Tax.
Here’s what the text of the agreement between the National Coalition Party (the Finnish Conservatives) and the Social Democratic Party (Labour) says, according to an unofficial Treasury translation:
Finland considers it to be a matter of urgency to put into place a international financial transactions tax on a geographical scope that is as wide as possible. The aim must be a global tax, but in the first phase also a system that is put into effect only at the EU level could be considered.