M. Nicolas Sarkozy
Président de la République Française
Palais de l’Elysée
55, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
Proposal for a High Level Conference on Financial Sector Taxation to be held in 2011
Dear President Sarkozy,
In 2011, three years after the outbreak of the financial crisis, the debate on taxing the financial sector is entering a crucial stage. With France holding the presidency of the G8 and the G20 this year, your country will be pivotal to the outcome of efforts to regulate financial markets and impel the financial sector to make a fair and substantial contribution to the costs of the crisis, both in the de-veloped and developing world.
Historically, France has played a vanguard role in the area of international taxation. François Mitterand was a supporter of the Tobin Tax, the French parliament adopted a resolution in favour of a Currency Transaction Tax in 2001 and your predecessor, Jacques Chirac, established the Landau Commission, which played a very influential part in the international debate, leading to the imple-mentation of UNITAID in July 2006 - the first fund for Global Public Goods paid for by solidarity levies, in this case on the aviation sector, raising more than $1 billion to date for HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria treatments.
We appreciate your support for greater taxation of the finance sector and share your views in respect of the responsibility of the finance industry, particularly your words at Davos in 2010: that globalisation of finance “has lead to a world, where everything was given to finance capital and almost nothing to labour, in which the entrepreneur gave way to the speculator and where those who live on unearned income left the workers far behind...”
The taxing of financial transactions would serve as an important contribution to the curbing of speculation and making sure financial actors contribute to the costs of the crisis they caused. Such measures are particularly timely in light of the huge public debt in almost all OECD countries and continuous attacks by speculators on the Euro.
We, the undersigned, respectfully suggest the following proposal: that France hold a major International Conference on Financial Sector Taxation in the coming months, modelled on the highly successful International Plenary Meeting convened by former President Chirac on 28 February/1 March 2006 in Paris. This initiative was widely regarded as a major success, leading to the creation of the Leading Group and UNITAID. An International Conference in 2011 could equally help build momentum for progress. Similarly to in 2006, participants could include governmental representatives, especially from countries most supportive of Financial Sector Taxation, as well as representatives from Civil Society. Experts, such as Nobel prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz and practitio-ners like the world-renowned George Soros could be invited to take part.
We believe that such an initiative would foster the prestige of France as a leading force in the world. As a broad alliance of NGOs from various sectors, such as labour, development and environment we have organised ourselves in order to promote the acceptance and implementation of an FTT with our governments and the EU. International civil society strongly supports moves towards greater taxation of the financial sector and would applaud the evident leadership of a country shaping events, steering the agenda and making things happen.
We stand ready to meet with you or your officials to develop this proposal further.
We look forward to receiving your reply at your earliest convenience.
Letter to Sarkozy.doc