MEP ends hunger strike over EU budget, but continues battle for financial transactions tax

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By Gregoire Lory, Joanna Gill
MEP ends hunger strike over EU budget, but continues battle for financial transactions tax
Copyright  Euronews

French MEP Pierre Larrouturou hit the headlines recently when he went on hunger strike to protest against the EU budget. 

He lost 10 kilograms in 18 days before doctors asked him to stop on Saturday (November 14)

But, while he might have lost weight, he gained public support for a more ambitious budget for climate, health and research.

Now his ultimate goal - a tax on financial transactions to support the recovery - is no longer taboo.

"The best solution is a tax on speculation, which would bring in €57 billion a year," Larrouturou told Euronews.

He says that the European Parliament is willing to move forward on a financial transaction tax "with a group of pioneers" and won't wait for everyone to agree.

"Six months ago I was somewhat the only one in parliament to say this about the volumes needed and the fact that there was no need for unanimity," he said. "And if we move forward with 10 or 15 countries, we may not have €55 billion in the first year, but if we have 30 or 40 billion in the first year, it will help hospitals and the climate."

The political battle is not over for the socialist MEP. His goal is to see EU leaders approve his tax plan next month and the idea of further cooperation between some member states seems to be gaining ground.

Larrouturou says the European Parliament and Council signed an agreement last week which confirmed that it could be possible to progress with the financial transaction tax.

"Even if there are only 10 or 15 countries (who agree) it can be used to pay off their common debt and finance the EU budget. So it will either finance the whole European budget, or it will finance the climate and research actions of these 10 or 15 countries."

However, there is still a long way to go. A draft European financial transaction tax has been on the table for almost 10 years and has not yet seen the light of day.