Climate, Macron ready to defend the tax on financial transactions

Emmanuel Macron would have made a 180-degree turn. Opposed initially – viscerally? – the principle of a tax on financial transactions (FTT), the new president now intends to validate faster, “by the end of summer.” That at least is what he promised to NGOs received Tuesday at the Elysee.

The FTT is a sea serpent, to puncture the finance exacerbated to subsidize general interest causes. The first round of heats under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, with the introduction in 2004 of a tax on air tickets to finance the fight against AIDS in Africa (through UNITAID NGOs, headed by Philippe Douste-Blazy ). Spend the presidencies of Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, without anything changing because little or nothing, must change. Unless the adoption in June 2012 of an FTT to the French, as minimalist as the weight of France in the world (1).

But for six years, in the corridors of Brussels, simmers a European FTT. Not applicable to the 28 EU members, but 10 of them, anxious to “enhanced cooperation”. As usual, France and Germany appear pointed. But behind this facade, Paris tempers ambition, when Berlin is more offensive. Belgium requires it, that its pension funds are exempt – granted privilege.

Urgent

Suddenly, in early June, Bruno Le Maire, the new Minister of Economy, requires further postponement of the FTT on condition of Brexit: Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam are vying to delight London the title of European capital of finance, it is urgent to wait for the Brexit before introducing an FTT. “A delay of two years to better bury it a little more irritated Oxfam, specializing on the subject. At this rate, we never will! ”

Back to Franco-French considerations. In May 2016, Nicolas Hulot cosignait Liberation in a forum aimed at introducing this European FTT in order to “regulate the mad finance and restore tax justice.” In spring 2017, Emmanuel Macron, during the presidential campaign, replied on this point to NGOs in our columns: “I will not commit myself. I am fully aware of the importance of the FTT, but we will discuss in view of British behavior. ”

Tumbles meanwhile Donald Trump, who announced the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement on climate. In the process, Macron, who intends to be on the offensive, convene NGOs. And the ad in passing its intention to accelerate the pace of the FTT which part of the proceeds could be allocated to the climate struggle in the South. Donald thank you! “Macron was chilly or against, but the output Trump climate has pushed forward on the FTT” quips barely Coalition Plus, NGOs active in the fight against AIDS with Aids sides. Oxfam console: “The momentum for the FTT is not crazy, but favorable.” France “must put a final shove, ‘the solidarity NGOs. Finance ministers of the ten European countries must meet on 11 July in Brussels. As usual, the subject of the FTT will accessory. Later still, the heads of state concerned will have to fix the assignment.

To slice

This game can last a long time, as was appropriate in June 2016 the Austrian Minister of Finance, responsible for coordinating the negotiations on this subject. Noting diplomatically “much progress”, he exhorted his colleagues: “It is time to say yes or no.” Emmanuel Macron and Bruno Le Maire have thus clearly decided. It will be yes. But at what rate and above what basis? By then, Oxfam invites “not yielding to the financial sector.”

(1) The French FTT reported 900 million euros per year. Applied Europe-wide, it would yield, according to Commission estimates, between 20 billion and 22 billion annually.