Broad coalition targets EU Tax Commissioner for ‘favoritism towards financial lobbyists’ on Financial Transaction Tax

Date

11 Apr 2011

Press release

11 April 2010

The Party of European Socialists (PES), together with members of the Europeans for Financial Reform (EFFR) coalition, have targeted Algirdas Semeta, the European Commissioner for Tax, in a European Wide campaign. The campaign calls for the introduction of a European Financial Transaction Tax (FTT), and follows on from the overwhelming vote on 8 March by the European Parliament for such a tax.

Central to the campaign is a photo of Mr. Semeta with the caption; “Do you know what this man is speculating against, click here before 19 April”. The caption refers to the deadline of the Commission consultation on taxation in the financial sector. The Parliament vote had compelled Mr. Semeta to launch the consultation despite his reluctance. However EFFR members have expressed their frustration that the consultation was published in English only, with a Commission spokesperson claiming that most of the respondents would come from the financial sector anyway so English would be ok.

The campaign website; www.financialtransactiontax.eu shows a photo of a half-smiling Semeta with the caption above. The personalized campaign against Mr. Semeta is a departure from the usually more genteel Brussels scene, and reflects a growing sense of anger at Commission resistance to a European Financial Transaction Tax. After the 8 March vote Mr. Semeta had immediately called the Parliament’s actions ‘irresponsible’.

Party of European Socialists (PES) General Secretary, Philip Cordery, stated that; “Our campaign has three aims; ultimately; to succeed in getting a European Financial Transaction Tax that will raise vitally needed funds by taxing those financial actors who caused this crisis in the first place; to mobilise people to respond to the Commission consultation; and to ensure that Mr. Semeta does not block this process".

Mr. Cordery concluded by saying that; “By publishing the consultation in English only, it is clear that the Commission wanted responses from the financial sector only. This is blatant favoritism. Our campaign will amplify the citizens’ voice”

To date there has been no comment from Mr. Semeta’s office.

-ends-

 

For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (brian.synnott@pes.org)

The PES brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) - plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY and PES Women are respectively the Youth and the Women's organizations of the PES.

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