UACES Arena: The International Dimension of the EU Financial Transaction Tax

Brussels, Belgium

7 November 2011


Dr Bart van Vooren, University of Copenhagen

This event is part of the UACES Arena, which is organised by UACES and Edelman | The Centre in cooperation with the University of Kent at Brussels. UACES Arena invites leading scholars to challenge conventional wisdom in the policy-making world and to present new ideas for a changing Europe.

In the wake of the financial crisis, taxation of the financial sector has forcefully re-emerged on the EU political agenda, most prominently in the form of a ‘Tobin tax’ or ‘Robin Hood tax’. On 28 September, President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel agreed that they would jointly push towards imposing a financial transactions tax (FTT), with Commission President Barroso presenting a proposal to that effect at his ‘State of the Union’ speech. It is the hope that this EU proposal will provide a stepping stone for a global implementation of the FTT, with the starting shot expected to be given at the Cannes G-20 meeting in preparation for the Mexico G-20 Summit in 2012.

Asked to look into the feasibility of this proposal, IMF and Commission studies have investigated the political and economic challenges to implementing the FTT. However, the degree of legal and institutional coordination required at global level for a successful implementation of this tax remains unexplored. This presentation, taking place immediately after the Cannes G-20 meeting, fills that lacuna: To achieve a global FTT, the EU must propose to its G-20 partners a binding, multilateral treaty establishing the legal framework within which to organize, levy and disperse the revenue of a global FTT. The presentation assesses the feasibility of such a proposal, and explains the far-reaching reform of the global economic governance system needed to implement this tax at global level.

The presentation is therefore guided by the following over-arching question: is this tax opportunity for the EU to push much needed reform to the global financial system; or is a global transaction tax an entirely utopian idea? We prefer a glass to be half-full. Thus, the speaker argues that should the Union manage to speak with its proverbial single voice in a sustained, long-term lobbying effort at the highest political echelons, success may be within reach. This would have commensurate effects on the EU’s standing in the hearts and minds of European citizens: the EU as a global Robin Hood.

This event is free to attend.

Places are limited so please reserve a place in advance by sending an email with the subject ‘FTT seminar' to by 4 November, stating your name, institution/organization and title.

Lecture from 12:30 to 14:00 (with a sandwich lunch provided from 12:00)

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2011-11-07 2011-11-07 UACES Arena: The International Dimension of the EU Financial Transaction Tax Brussels, Belgium | Edelman | The Centre Edelman | The Centre true YYYY-MM-DD
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