Matthew Hardeman reports as policymakers and thought-leaders meet at the Global Citizen Forum in Monaco to discuss the proposed Global Citizen Tax on migratory HNWs
Leading figures in world affairs are meeting today and tomorrow to discuss proposals for a proposed ‘global citizen tax’ – levied on migratory HNWs – to fund aid for the refugee crisis in Europe.
Attendees at the Global Citizen Forum in Monaco include Kofi Annan, former secretary-general of the United Nations, José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission, and Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO.
Specifically aimed at HNW investors applying for residence or citizenship in EU countries, the tax is designed to bolster the EU Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the EU Trust Fund, both of which deliver direct aid to Syrian refugees. The initiative could raise over a billion euros in the next five years, according to proponents.
While it remains to be seen whether cash- and HNW-hungry governments are likely to agree to the implementation of such proposals, Armand Arton, founder and president of the Global Citizen Forum, said in a statement: ‘We hope that this event will create a real call to action for the industry participants and government officials to convert the proposed Global Citizen Tax into reality.
‘The idea is to impose a levy of 1 to 5 per cent on the wealthy migrants who are investing over €6 billion per year in Europe to create an emergency fund for the refugees. It could raise €250 million per year. This is a very simple and easy way to save lives, and we as industry leaders owe it to the world to make an impact on the biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.’
The event comes as number of refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria is set to rise substantially in the coming years, as Russia commits substantial military support to the Assad regime and effectively quashes hopes of a negotiated settlement.
‘The issues, on a geopolitical basis, clearly have exacerbated the size of the problem,’ says Mykolas Rambus, founding chairman of the Global Investor Immigration Council. Predictable as the influx may have been, he tells Spear’s, ‘No-one has planned for the resourcing required to solve the challenges that are in front of us today – and that’s the biggest issue: it’s how to plan for the resources that are now required when governments and organisations think in cycle-times of years, where the problems that need to be solved must occur in days.’
Issue number two, he adds, is the sheer number of people effectively rendered stateless: ‘This is one of the reasons why this tax is intended to be distributed via the European Commission, as opposed to other vehicles… Unfortunately, this is an urgent issue that can’t take long to solve.’
While opposing views may emerge in the coming days, ‘There’s a tremendous brains trust here these next few days… and there are many different ways to try and address these challenges right away. So if there are differing views, I suspect they will be on the implementation, rather than the concept… At the end of the day, we’re all human beings. Helping other people is in all of our natures – so the question is how.’