Heard in Europe

France, the hosts of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), will use next week’s meeting of EU finance ministers to try to get the oft-delayed Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) moving, and some of its future revenue earmarked for climate finance.

The ECOFIN Council will meet on 8 December. With FTT nothing moves quickly, but France wants a declaration that the tax will be operationalised as soon as possible and agreement on the main elements of the levy.

With the COP21 in full swing at that time, the French are keen that part of the cash windfall goes to climate finance.

Although it is unlikely that all 11 member states will agree to that, a smaller group of countries may.

Finance ministers are also meeting in Brussels next week (10 November), but won’t focus on the FTT.

Instead, they will confirm the EU’s position on climate finance, which is vitally important to secure developing countries’ support for a deal to cap global warming in Paris.

But France will take advantage of the pow-wow to try and secure agreement among the 11 member states in the margins of the meeting.

The FTT was originally proposed as an EU-wide tax by the Barroso administration. The levy on financial services failed to get the unanimous support it needed to become law.

11 countries used the enhanced cooperation procedure to push ahead with the “Robin Hood Tax” but it still faces fierce opposition from countries such as the UK.

French President François Hollande made a joint statement with Spain’s Mariano Rajoy, in support of earmarking some FTT revenue for climate and development finance.

It’s an encouraging signal considering France often defines loans to developing countries as aid, and Spain is one of the most aggressive negotiators on tax treaties with developing countries!

Hollande has also reportedly discussed the idea with Merkel but that chinwag was not made public.

Climate finance isn’t always as straightforward as it sounds though. Click the link below to find out more.

>>Read: COP21 deal at risk over development aid greenwashing

Photo courtesy of Flickr and Oxfam International. Published under a Creative Commons licence.

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