Europe must consolidate to achieve development goals

French and German plans that would raise billions to reduce the impact of climate change and boost the development of the world's poorer nations must receive the full support of the British government, according to campaign groups.

The call came as EU Finance Ministers met recently to discuss proposals to boost the Millennium Development Goals, which include combating poverty and disease, and ensuring environmental sustainability.

“Money is desperately needed to tackle poverty, health and climate change,” Friends of the Earth (FoE) economic spokesman Simon Bullock stated.

“The EU Finance Ministers should support each other’s schemes rather than fight about which is best.”

Gordon Brown has been urged to support Jacques Chirac’s proposals for a “Tobin Tax”, a tax on currency trading that would stand at around 0.005% on transactions made by banks.

Without disrupting the market, this tax would bring in billions of euros every year to support international development goals, while also helping to strengthen developing economies and make them less vulnerable to currency speculators.

It would also create a policy shift away from international financial institutions funding new fossil fuel projects, rather pushing funding towards financing climate mitigation measures and reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

Moreover, Mr Brown has also been advised by campaigners to support Gerhard Schroeder’s proposals for an aviation tax, which would also raise billions of euros that could then be spent on sustainable development and renewable technologies.

The tax would also reduce pollution from the aviation industry, one of the biggest global contributors to carbon emissions, helping to alleviate the affects of climate change (see related story).

By Jane Kettle

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