Tobin Tax on EU agenda

2 November 2001

Proposals for a “Tobin Tax” on international currency speculation are getting further hearings and support. Despite rejection by the EU finance ministers meeting in Liege in late September, the Belgian government, which holds the EU presidency, insisted it should be studied in a new Commission report on “Responses to the challenges of globalisation” to be prepared by December. The French Government intends to include the Tobin tax in a bill for “a social economy of solidarity” to be presented to the Council of Ministers before December. Bernard Cassen, President of ATTAC which campaigns for the tax, welcomed the French government’s interest.

Germany and France have created a high-level working group to examine ways to avoid negative side effects of speculative capital movements. German Finance Minister Hans Eichel said that “limits on capital movements could play a supporting role” in ensuring that capital markets contain “protective mechanisms against speculation”. German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder, said there was a need to recognise “weak spots” in the international financial system, such as offshore centres, hedge funds and derivatives. UK Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw agreed, but added that “the Tobin tax risks distracting us from the real issue: how to respond to global poverty and inequality.”

The IMF‘s Managing Director, Horst Köhler told NGOs in Berlin that he was “very sceptical” of the Tobin Tax, but did not exclude a re-examination of the issue.


War on Want

See also Attac explores launch in UK