Media, centre-left politicians and political campaigners all across Europe hailed the vote of the European Parliament supporting a Financial Transaction Tax as an important step to “send out a sygnal -as Martin Schulz, leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group of MEPS, said – that the private sector bears its part of the responsibility for the crisis.”
It is an important signal indeed, but despite the enthusiastic comments of the moment, the vote of the European Parliament is doomed to remain only on paper.
Not only the report drafted by Greek MEP Anni Podimata (Socialists and Democrats) and adopted by the plenary session on the 8th of March is non-binding and but also the European Union has not competence in imposing new taxation, competence which firmly rests at national level, while the Commission can only put in place framework proposals for a better armonisation. National government are absolutaly not keen in introducing such a measure, as demonstrated by the conclusions of the Council of the European Union (the meeting of all head of Governments), which recomended that “the introduction of a global financial transaction tax should be explored and developed further”, tranfering the issue at an international level, where it is even more difficult to reach an agreement.
Newspaper and TV programs kept the lead on the conclusions of the Council, while plenty of coverage was given to the vote of the European Parliament: it was indeed symbolic, but it remains just a recommendation.
While it is understandable the joy for the result of the vote in the European Parliament, the campaign for introducing a Financial Transaction Tax should not stop, as the most important steps are still ahead, and the opposition to this measure, though less vocal and visible, is still quite strong.
More information on the pan-european campign for a Financial Transaction Tax on www.financialtransactiontax.eu/