Europe’s finance ministers have decided Robin Hood will have to wait until 2016 to take action.
Activists in favour of a ‘Robin Hood tax’ – named after the British outlaw who supposedly robbed from the rich to give to the poor – acted out a boxing match in Brussels to symbolise the fight over the levy.
Natalia Alonso, Head of EU Advocacy at Oxfam, said the money from this ‘financial transaction tax’ should be used for fighting poverty.
“15 percent of this tax, only 15 percent of this tax could cover the cuts that have been happening in five countries – in Greece, Italy, Spain in the last three years,” she told euronews. “And also only five percent of this tax would allow to give funds to one million nurses in Africa.”
Euronews correspondent in Brussels, Efi Koutsokosta, reports:
“The finance ministers of the 11 participating countries didn’t reach an agreement here in Brussels on where and how this financial transaction tax will be implemented. A tax which, according to the Commission, could bring up to 35 billion euros per year to the national treasuries.”
Ministers from Germany and France – two of the tax’s main backers – wanted the first step to be completed before the European elections in May. Now they’re looking further ahead, as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble outlined.
“As a first step we would like to put a political agreement in place, to come into force on January 1 2016. It’s an ambitious plan,” said Schauble. “But it will keep the pressure firmly on the financial transaction tax.”
Outside the single currency, but inside the single market, the United Kingdom recently had its challenge to the levy rejected by the European Court for acting prematurely.
The UK maintains it is prepared to continue the fight.