EU TAX: European Citizen's Initiative Pushes for Wealth Tax

As published on: causes.com, Tuesday 25 July, 2023.

What's the story?

  • A group of economists, activists, and millionaires introduced the "European Citizens' Initiative," which calls for a permanent wealth tax on the richest 1% to promote humanitarian and environmental projects both at home and in the developing world.
  • Prominent economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty, and coalitions like the Patriotic Millionaires, called on the EU to introduce a progressive tax.
  • The European Citizens' Initiative is a mechanism through which European citizens can call on the European Commission to propose new legislation.
  • The European Citizens' Initiative initiators will have a year to collect one million signatures, starting in July. Only nine initiatives have surpassed the threshold of one million signatures needed to be formally submitted to the European Commission.

Wealth inequality

  • During the pandemic, the world's richest made record gains. During the first two years of the pandemic, $26 trillion, 63% of all new wealth, went to the world's richest 1%. The remaining 37% of new wealth went to the rest of the world.
  • In the EU, the wealthiest 1% captured 4.5 times as much wealth as the bottom 90%.
  • According to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, growing inequality affects 70% of the global population. Inequality threatens "long-term social and economic development, [harming] poverty reduction and [destroying] people's sense of fulfillment and self-worth."

Benefits of a wealth tax

  • Oxfam, which co-endorsed the initiative, estimates that an annual wealth tax of up to 5% on Europe's billionaires could raise nearly $272.8 billion a year.
  • A wealth tax aims could reduce social unrest, target tax evasion by the wealthy, stymy corporate tax breaks, and help crack down on offshore tax havens.

What people are saying?

"When poverty is soaring, and wealthy people like me are demanding to be taxed more, you know governments are on the wrong side of history. People won't accept any more excuses. We must tax the rich." 

"Governments have a simple choice. They can continue to let the super-rich fill their pockets while everyday people struggle to pay their bills, and aid and climate finance promises go unmet. Or they can put the needs of the many before the luxury of the few and tax the rich. A wealth tax can help reverse today's unsustainable levels of inequality and unlock the billions needed for people and the planet. It is what we need for a fairer Europe and world."



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