Leterme: "Tax on financial transactions"

At the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) summit in New York, the Belgian Premier Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat) has pressed for a financial tax to combat poverty. He was joined in his appeal by France and Japan.

140 countries are taking part in the summit. They agree one thing: there is not enough money to reach the MDGs.  One way of finding new cash, is a tax on financial transactions, Mr Leterme told the conference during his speech.

"It's a very complicated matter of course, but sooner or later this should become possible. The whole world has to take part and we need a global accord, which is not easy", Mr Leterme explained. Belgian Development Minister Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) estimates that even a "small tax" would generate as much as 50 billion euros per year.

He added that the developing countries also have to be confronted with the big gap between rich and poor in the countries themselves. "In some countries, this gap has even become bigger. This means that the local people are worse off now."

Another problem is the control mechanism of how development aid is being spent. More coordination and better checks are needed.