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2012-03-15 | News

Sterner speaks in the French Parliament about the Swedish tax reform

"Perspectives on a comprehensive tax reform – Experiences from Sweden and challenges for France” is the topic of a conference in the French parliament on Thursday March 15. Thomas Sterner, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Gothenburg, will present the advantages and difficulties of the approach adopted in Sweden.

To watch the video, please click the link, scroll down, click on the photo of Thomas Sterner to start the video. Sterner´s speech starts after 5.15 minutes:

Thomas Sterner, former President of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists will also show briefly how other countries have been inspired, the latest being Australia.

The issue of tax reform is discussed as part of the French presidential campaign as is the management of the economic crisis in Europe. The Scandinavian countries are often cited as examples. What can France learn from their Swedish neighbors and to what extent would a comprehensive tax reform allow us to introduce tools for environmental management?

The conference is arranged by The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). In the letter of invitation IDDRI notes that the introduction of a coherent system of green taxation enables us:
• to set prices, both necessary and reasonable, on the consumption of natural resources and environmental damage
• expand effectively the tax base, which creates opportunities to reduce other taxes, or fund other necessary expenditures

This is the basis of the major Swedish tax reform of 1990. They actually succeeded on both counts listed above. To have introduced a wide range of "green taxes", while reducing the tax on personal income and one on corporate profits, does not prevent - on the contrary - the Swedish economy to be one of two or three most prosperous in the EU. That the reform has been very broad in this respect is a key factor of efficiency, and also offset relatively simply social inequities inherent in the perception of "green taxes".

Paul Champsaur, Chairman of the Authority of Official Statistics, formerly scientific director of the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE), University of Louvain, then Director General of INSEE, will address the conditions necessary for the viability and success of a broad tax reform in France.

Laurence Tubiana, Director of IDDRI, professor at Sciences Po and Columbia University, will moderate the debate and conclude.

The conference will be held in French on March 15 and filmed by IDDRI. The film will be posted
on the websites of IDDRI and TerreTV.

About IDDRI:
The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) is a Paris and Brussels based non-profit think tank. Its objective is to develop and share key knowledge and tools for analysing and shedding light on the strategic issues of sustainable development from a global perspective. Given the rising stakes of the issues posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, IDDRI provides stakeholders with input for their reflection on global governance, and also participates in work on reframing development pathways.