Sarkozy and Barroso compete to win global support for a Robin Hood Tax: but will the Danish be first?
The race to implement a Robin Hood Tax is hotting up. From a great idea with marginal support a couple of years ago, world leaders are now competing over who is in charge of implementing it. European Commission President Barroso and French President Nicholas Sarkozy (in alliance with German Chancellor Merkel) are vying for leadership of the campaign. But they may be pipped at the post if the left win the Danish General Election on 15 September….
President Barroso is off to Australia this weekend to seek the support of Prime Minister Julia Gillard for action at the G20 which should be music to the (rather large) ears of the Robin Hood Australia campaign (we love that kangaroo!) Barroso said in a video message after a special meeting of the Commission that Europe will
“actively drive forward coordinated global action to cope with common economic challenges and bring the world economy back to sustainable growth. Ahead of the Cannes summit, we will come forward with a proposal for a European financial transaction tax, and we are committed to explore this further also at G20 level. I will be discussing this and other key issues with our G20 partners, such as Australia, where I will travel next week.”
And meanwhile, President Sarkozy of France, who will host the G20 in November and was one of the first world leaders to come out for Robin du Bois, said this to France’s Ambassadors last week (our translation):
Our goal is for Europe to set an example of what can be done, and for others to align themselves with this initiative at the G20 summit in Cannes. I hope, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are very active within the next two months to defend the idea of a tax on financial transactions. France is at the forefront of this fight. …
Who will dare tell the world that the financial sector was so exemplary at the time of the financial crisis that it must absolutely be shielded from any hint of taxation of financial transactions? Who will dare say this to the peoples of the world?
Of course, if we wait for everyone to agree, we will be waiting a long time. I was talking earlier about smokescreens: well, global agreement is a smokescreen. Europe must lead by example, Europe has ideas to defend, Europe must adopt the tax on financial transactions, at the request of Germany and France. Then, with the most advanced countries, we will build a group of leading governments joining us in this taxation of financial transactions.
But both Barroso and Sarkozy might well be beaten to the winning tape by Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the charismatic leader of the Danish Social Democrats who, with their partners on the left, seem on course to win the Danish General Election on 15 September. Their manifesto is clear – if they win, they will implement a unilateral Financial Transactions Tax of 0.25% on share sales. The Robin Hood Tax Campaign Denmark is hoping the left bring home the bacon….