I would like our partnership with Africa to be an aspect of the overhaul of the European project. Development aid needs to be increased. I have committed to that, for France, and we will increase it each time, year after year. We will also do it better, because sums alone do not make a policy, and on this subject we are often obsessed with symbols. And we tend to think that a development policy boils down to figures. We will work better with civil society.
But this official development aid also needs to be European, with renewed ambition, and as such I am prepared, I wish, to relaunch on new foundations the project for a European financial transaction tax, in order to finance this policy.
We know the debate off by heart. Why do these initiatives always end in failure? Because the technical arrangements we eventually choose penalize one country rather than another. So I have a simple proposal. There are two countries in Europe which have a tax on financial transactions. There is France, and I say that with all the more humility because it is one of my predecessors who established it. So let’s take this tax, and generalize it across Europe, and I am prepared, even willing to give all its receipts to European official development aid.
But there is another country that also has a financial transaction tax: the United Kingdom, which long before us had what is known as stamp duty. Some fear unfair competition because, indeed, if we put in place a financial transaction tax that is excessive — something that was envisaged by certain predecessors for others — and damages our very ability to create economic activity, that is unsustainable. But if we decide, collectively, to adopt the British tax, nobody will be able to say that it creates disturbance or distortion of the European Union’s competitiveness. No! So we should choose one or the other of these simple systems, with a wide base, but at last, do it! In any case, I will be doing my utmost.