Dutch Parliament ignores growing European support for a transaction tax

10 October 2012

Dutch Parliament ignores growing European support for a transaction tax

A majority in the Dutch national Parliament’s main legislative chamber have voted to reject a motion supporting the introduction of a tax on financial transactions. SP leader Emile Roemer’s proposed earlier in the year that the Netherlands join those European countries pushing for such a tax. ‘This tax – also known as the Tobin Tax – would make the financial system more secure, because rapid cross-border transactions would be made less profitable,’ explains SP Member of Parliament Arnold Merkies. ‘Eleven European countries have already expressed their support, but the right-wing majority in Parliament prefers to bury its head in the sand.’

Emile RoemerRoemer’s proposal earlier in the year was also endorsed by the Labour Party and Green Left, but beyond the three parties of left and centre-left it won support only from the (generally progressive) Animals’ Party and the centrist group D66. The SP certainly does not stand alone in its advocacy of this tax. In Europe a “leading group” of eleven countries has been formed, which includes France and Germany, and which intends to introduce it. ‘That’s considerably more than our finance minister would have us believe,’ says Merkies. ‘It’s a hopeful sign that most of the countries which surround us are coming out with constructive proposals. A financial transaction tax is an outstanding way at one and the same time to make the financial system more secure and to get the banks and speculators who were in large part responsible for the crisis to make an additional contribution to resolving it. The chance of another crisis would also be reduced.’

Merkies is pleased that the Labour Party is continuing to support the proposal, which they stated in June was a condition of their support for the Dutch position at the EU summit. ‘Now that the right-wing parties have turned against this tax, it’s up to Labour to bring it into the coalition negotiations.’

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