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Zapatero urges finance tax

Tue 21st Sep 2010

Spain's Prime Minister yesterday urged for an international tax on financial transactions to fund anti-poverty programs to be implemented, vowing to press the proposal at every given opportunity.

He gave the speech at the U.N. headquarters, during a summit to review progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals, he went on to ask all countries to keep up their efforts despite the recession.

Because the effots of countries induvidually are not enough, Zapatero proposed that those countries who have come to the rescue of the financial system now request "a minimum effort" by banks and investment houses to save millions of human beings from the misery of extreme poverty.

"We must establish a tax on international financial transactions with the goal of fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals, and my government commits itself to defending it, of putting it into practice and applying it at every international forum" the Spanish premier said.

Various studies by Spanish officals estimate that putting the proposed tax into operation efficiently and globally would mean collecting around 30 billion euros every year.

In 2015, the year by which MDG targets are supposed to be reached, contributing nations should be able to say "we finished the job, we kept our promise, the solidarity effort was worth it" Zapatero said.

Spain, he said, is the industrialized nation that has most increased its official funding for development in the last five years.

Recent austerity measures to reduce Spain's budget deficit have made it necessary to cut back that aid by 300 million euros this year and by 500 million euros in 2011, but Zapatero said that the slowdown will be "temporary" and repeated his commitment to provide an official contribution to development of 0.7 percent of gross domestic product by 2015.

During the speech, Zapatero estimated that 10 years after the United Nations set the MDG targets, progress has been made, but "not as much as the countries suffering the most deserve."

He went on to say how previous efforts have shown that over the next five years the targets can be reached: "Now we know that if they are reached and each country fulfills its commitment, progress will be substantial, decisive, conclusive".

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