All eyes on Italy
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the new President of the European Council, is now in the driving seat to steer 11 countries to finalise Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) legislation by December. All eyes are on Italy to seal the deal.
The Italian Robin Hood Tax Campaign has hit the ground running, piling the pressure on Renzi and Finance Minister Padoan:
- Sending them a letter signed by major Italian trade unions and charities, bolstered by signatures of Robin Hood Tax coalitions from 12 other countries - representing tens of millions of European citizens - to Renzi and Padoan, pushing them to agree an ambitious FTT under Italy’s presidency with significant revenues to fight poverty at home and abroad and combat climate change.
- Flooding Renzi's Twitter feed with over a thousand tweets in the hour before his inaugural speech at the European Parliament.
- Staging a World Cup stunt outside of Padoan’s office in Rome (pictured) broadcasting that we want him to lead the team of 11 European finance minsters to secure a strong Financial Transactions Tax.
Further afield, citizens have been raising their voices to demand this tiny tax on the banks be used to save lives in poorer parts of the world. On 20th July at the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFATM), the French government, UNAIDS and other prominent experts expressed their support for the Robin Hood Tax. Activists challenged President Clinton by dropping banners and holding signs, chanting “Clinton, End AIDS with a Robin Hood Tax!” – and the former president applauded them after the stunt.
And that’s not all - respected members of the financial and business sectors keep coming on board. Recently the Chair of the Board of ice-cream giant Ben and Jerry's, Jeff Furman, joined Bill Gates as another captain of industry backing the Robin Hood Tax.
And what about those who are not in favour? Well, we still encounter strong opposition from UK Chancellor George Osborne, despite his arguments wearing increasingly thin. While he continues to champion the interests of the financial sector over the interests of Britain as a whole, UK citizens and local politicians are strongly behind the FTT with 61 councils, representing a quarter of the UK population, now signed up to support it.
With a ground-breaking European Financial Transactions Tax in our sights, we need to keep the pressure on the Italian Government. We need to ensure that we achieve the strongest, broadest tax possible in Europe, with money going to the right places: to protect jobs and public services, to meet commitments to clean water, health and education in developing countries and to combat the challenges of climate change. And we need to use the FTT progress on the European mainland to persuade UK political parties, in the run up to the General Election next year, that the time for the Robin Hood Tax is NOW.
Almost 800,000 people have signed the Robin Hood Tax petition to date – let’s make it 1 Million! Please get 2 people you know to sign. Let’s show the world the Robin Hood Tax is the most popular tax in history!