EU leaders – put your Robin Hood hats on

May 23, 2012

Posted by Olga Golichenko

Action for Global Health Advocacy Officer

At today’s ‘growth summit’ EU leaders must go on record and commit to allocate a proportion of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) for global development. An EU FTT which fails to fund global priorities, such as global health needs, would be unacceptable.

This and last week feature highly important global events: the launch of a Robin Hood Tax Campaign in the United States, the G-8 meeting at Camp David (unfortunately with no significant  outcomes) and this Wednesday, a very important EU Heads of State ‘growth summit’.

Opponents of a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) often make the assertion that the financial sector is ‘untouchable’ and they claim that there are no quick solutions to poverty and challenges in global health. Yet there is one idea that wouldn’t negatively affect the workings of the financial sector but would give world leaders the capacity take massive strides towards health for all, poverty and climate change. A tiny tax on financial transactions, like shares or bonds, could raise 409 billion US Dollars a year and at the same time have the positive knock-on effect of slowing the dangerous ‘casino’ behaviour in financial markets which is the root cause of the global economic crisis.

Small change – big difference

A small change for the banks would make a huge difference for the world’s poorest.

The FTT constitutes a once-in-a-century opportunity to make the financial sector to pay a fair contribution for the global public goods, such as health, peace, food security, climate change adaptation, education.

Potential effect on global health

Think about it:

- 6 billion USD per year could get all those who need it on AIDS treatment

- 9.6 billion USD could pay for free healthcare for 227 million people in the world’s poorest countries

- 30 billion USD could pay for every person on the planet to access clean water and sanitation

Global Week of Action

Starting with the National Nurses United union marching in their thousands in Chicago, campaigners in both the United States and Europe have been raising the pressure on decision-makers during this year’s global week of action.

Robin Hood campaigners in over 30 countries representing over 220 million people are campaigning for the FTT. They enjoy the support of leaders such as the German Chancellor and French President, the South African and Brazilian governments, Bill Gates, more than a thousand economists, the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The introduction of the tax is imminent in Europe. We now need a commitment from European leaders that a significant part of the revenues will go to global challenges such as health, poverty and climate change.

From Sherwood Forest to the stock exchanges – become Robin Hood!

It is up to all of us to make enough noise to ensure European leaders agree to an ambitious FTT, with the revenue raised going to global causes so that any new tax is worthy of the name the Robin Hood Tax. We can’t win the battle and lose the war.

Ideas this good don’t come along every day. And when they do, they’re too powerful to ignore. It is time to put our Robin Hood hats on and act!

Support the Robin Hood Tax

Tweet – 1000 economists, Nobel Prize winners, world leaders, religious figureheads all support a Robin Hood Tax. Do you?

This post was written by:

Olga Golichenko, Global Health Advocacy Officer, International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Action for Global Health

Corinna Heineke, Health Poverty Action, UK

Khalil Elouardighi, Coalition PLUS, France

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