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French Parliament adopts Tobin tax amendment
In the evening of Monday 19th November 2001, the French National Assembly adopted the principal of a Tobin tax up to a maximum amount of 0.1% on international speculative financial transactions. This tax will enter into force after its adoption by the other European parliaments.
It is, thus, a symbolic and political victory that has been obtained by the French Members of Parliament, in particular by those in the ATTAC group of the national assembly. Now the same vote must be replicated in the other European Parliaments in order for the tax to enter into force. The French Parliament is the second Parliament in the world, after our Canadian friends in 1999, to have voted on the principle of a Tobin tax.
We must now continue to build on this symbolic victory in the different parliaments in the world. On one hand, this vote shows that numerous parliamentarians are not satisfied with the financial globalisation that is imposed on us. The taxation of financial transactions must be top of the agenda at the next World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, which takes place at the end of January 2002 in Brazil ».

For several years now, members of the ATTAC Group in the National Assembly have been introducing an amendment during the vote on the Finance Law seeking the establishment of a Tobin type tax. Their perseverance has not been in vain. This victory, even though symbolic for now, may be the catalyst for the political battle which will take place in other countries and at the heart of Europe. The victory will be, without doubt, a persuasive reference point for future debates in the other European Parliaments.
And as Gérard Fuchs, French Member of Parliament, recalled during the debate in the Assembly : « When we first talked about banning child labour, it was a utopia. When we first talked about not working on Sundays, it was a utopia. When we first talked about paid holidays, some of us declared that they would not pay employees for doing nothing. It is true, to talk of taxing financial transactions is a utopia. But we believe that this utopia must become reality. We need political regulation of financial globalisation (…) This evening, our aim is to launch an appeal, first of all to the other European Parliaments, for them to follow us, and then to our other colleagues in theOECD. But let us not hide behind the need for the universality of this proposal before taking it. Let’s say to the other European parliaments « Follow us ! » and in a few years’ time, we will be proud of what we did this evening. »
The text of the amendment adopted is particularly interesting for the evaluation undertaken by the administrative services of the National Assembly. Thus, at a rate of 0.1% (maximum hypothesis), taking into account the current volume of monetary transactions at the Paris stock exchange, the return would be 50m Euros per day, or 12.5 billion Euros per year if the volume of transactions remained the same. Even if the tax was only 0.01%, the return would still be, despite the foreseen exclusions, 1.25 billion Euros per year for this stock exchange alone where only 4% of exchange operations in the world are carried out (according to the Bank of International Settlements).

Compte rendu de la séance de l'AN sur la taxe Tobin
Texte de l’amendement et de l’exposé sommaire des motifs