THE European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has ruled an EU-wide ‘Robin Hood’ Tax proposed by Green MEPs is lawful.
The Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) – a small levy on financial transactions designed to raise funds for public services while ‘cooling down’ the pace of the financial speculation and bankers’ gambling responsible for the financial crash of 2008 – was agreed by the EU last year.
Initially, 11 countries – including France and Germany – agreed to take part.
But the UK refused to join – and immediately launched court action in a bid to block anyone else from implementing it either, fearful that it could be imposed on UK banks operating in the Eurozone later.
London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert said: “This ruling is really about whether or not we want to support speculative casino banking with billions of pounds of public money when the bankers get it wrong.
“In 2008, they got things spectacularly wrong, and we are all still paying the price with recession and government austerity measures.
“A ‘Robin Hood’ Tax would slow down the gambling – and raise revenue for public services at the same time. I can see why the French and German governments have embraced the idea.
“I welcome this ruling, which takes us down the road of delivering the more people-centred banking industry the Greens in Brussels are working hard for.”
It had been expected that the European Court of Justice would issue its decision later this year. The UK Chancellor is expected to appeal against the ruling.
Ms Lambert added: “With over 50 MEPs from around the EU in our group, we Greens have been able to make sure ordinary voices have been heard and propose a wide range of banking reforms, such as a Robin Hood Tax and a cap on bankers’ bonuses.
“Many of these reforms have been taken up at EU level, and we look forward to them being enacted in the UK too.
“The Government here likes to pretend this is about the UK’s freedom from Brussels, but really it’s about the banks’ freedom from democracy.”