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Agreement on a regional Financial Transaction Tax could restore Europe’s financial sector


George Papandreou
President of the Socialist International


The decision taken on January 22 by 11 EU member states at the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) to implement a tax on financial transactions is of major significance.

This is an important breakthrough after many years of concerted efforts by the Socialist International, the Party of European Socialists, PASOK, as well as the PASOK members of the European Parliament, and many other progressive forces around the world.

This is one of the few decisions taken by the EU during the current sovereign debt crisis that has a social character. The implementation of this measure will have a number of positive consequences for all the citizens of the EU, including:

• It specifically targets speculators, whose greed has had a catastrophic impact on our economies and citizens.

• It intervenes in the financial sector, which remains inadequately regulated and benefits from fragmented global governance.

• It creates an opportunity to redress some of the injustices that allowed the financial sector to profit from the crisis, although that crisis was of its own making.

• It will raise funds that will help to reduce the deficits of EU member states in a more socially just manner.

• It aims to restore the financial sector to its proper role, which is to finance and facilitate the real economy.

To a large extent, today’s decision satisfies the goal that I set and that all the member parties of the Socialist International pursued together: tighter regulation and oversight of financial transactions and tax havens.

I welcome today’s decision and I hope that it will quickly be ratified by the EU. I call on other economic powers, beyond Europe, to move forward with the necessary boldness and determination to adopt this initiative, so that it can be implemented globally. A global financial transaction tax will benefit all national economies and all peoples.

All democratic and progressive forces worldwide have a responsibility to continue our efforts, to defend the public interest, and to restore a sense of social justice.
 



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