Brussels – Given Greece’s economic woes, one would perhaps not associate the country with groundbreaking initiatives on taxation, but a Greek member of the European Parliament, Anni Podimata, is at the forefront of a growing campaign to introduce a financial transaction tax (FTT) in Europe.
The idea put forward by Podimata — who is the rapporteur for the EP position on the issue — has been adopted as a legislative proposal by the European Commission, and the former journalist and MEP for PASOK spent the last few days suggesting some changes to the tax, which would see traders paying 0.1 percent for transactions involving shares and bonds, and 0.01 percent for derivatives.
Illustration by Manos Symeonakis
“Europe is like a fruit salad,” says Frank Schwalba-Hoth, perched on the edge of his seat at the European Parliament’s cafe in Brussels. Normally, our surroundings would be a hive of activity but this week the MEPs have buzzed off to Strasbourg, the Parliament’s other home. But even if there had been a throng of politicians from the 27 member states around, the topic of discussion — Will Greece survive? Will the EU survive? — would have been too absorbing for us to notice.
Schwalba-Hoth, a German politician who was a founding member of the country’s Green Party and served as an MEP in the 1980s, is engaging company. He now works as a networker and consultant in Brussels and his knowledge of the workings and history of Europe’s institutions is unrivaled. He believes the Greek debt crisis and the threat it poses to the euro is just the latest in a long list of challenges that the EU, which traces its roots back to the European Coal and Steel Community founded in 1951, has faced in its long history.
Posted in Economy, European Union, Greece
Tagged Angela Merkel, EFSF, ESM, EU funds, EU funds Greece, euro, European Commission, European Parliament, European Policy Centre, European Union, euros crisis, eurozone, eurozone crisis, Fabian Zuleeg, Frank Schwalba-Hoth, George Papandreou, Greece, Greece debt crisis, Greece deficit, Greece eurozone, Greece income, Greece unemployment, Greek bailout, Greek debt crisis, Nicolas Sarkozy