Helsinki Process

The Helsinki Process + 10 Conference we organised in Hanasaari, Finland, in the spring reaffirmed that the multi-stakeholder dialogue on globalisation and democracy is just as needed and pertinent as when the Helsinki Process was launched ten years ago.  We decided to preserve the concept and keep the dialogue going.  Not necessarily through building heavy institutions or organising big conferences, but in “lighter” and more direct forms.

Launching this Helsinki Process blog site is a flexible way of continuing the dialogue.

On my part I wish to kick this off by returning to one of my favourite themes throughout the Helsinki Process, namely the Financial Transaction Tax.

It is early days to declare a real breakthrough, but the fact that eleven EU countries recently announced that they are ready to proceed with the further preparations of establishing a tax on the financial markets, was a significant event. The details of the whole proposal are open, including to whom revenues  would be transferred and for what purposes they can be allocated. I am personally not convinced that the original proposal by the Commission  to allocate the revenues to the EU budget and deduct the respective amounts from the national payments to the EU would be the best solution.  The main task of the EU in its taxation policies should be combating tax evasion and limiting harmful tax competition, and that should steer also this discussion.

My own Government has yet to resolve whether or not to participate already at this stage in the preparatory work of the new tax. My party is strongly in favor of that, and that would be in line with the Government Programme.

I would like to also use this forum for an open debate on the scope of the issue and on concrete solutions for setting up a European tax on financial markets. And I also welcome any comments on how this European initiative might influence the global debate and politics aiming at closing the tax havens and regulating the financial market.

Erkki Tuomioja

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland. Mr Tuomioja is a member of the Social Democratic Party of Finland and has been a member of the Finnish Parliament during the years 1970–1979 and 1991–present. He held the position of Minister of Trade and Industry in 1999-2003 and became the Minister for Foreign Affairs after Tarja Halonen was elected the President of Finland in 2000. Mr Tuomioja holds the degrees of Doctor in Social Sciences from University of Helsinki and Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration from Helsinki School of Economics. He is also the author of several books.