EU 'open' to talks on airlines tax, but won't change law

Mar 04, 2012
EU officials said Sunday they will negotiate with international partners angry at what they see as a climate tax on airlines, but refused to change hotly disputed legislation despite fears in Germany.

EU officials said Sunday they will negotiate with international partners angry at what they see as a climate tax on airlines, but refused to change hotly disputed legislation despite fears in Germany.

"We have always been open to continuing discussions on the possibility of equivalent measures" outside Europe, Isaac Valero, spokesman for European Union climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard, told AFP.

"This way we hope to reach a ," he said, referring to a longstanding failure to bring industrialised and emerging powers onto the same page over environmental objectives for big industry.

"But awaiting this global agreement, we are not going to change our legislation," he underlined.

Hedegaard has insisted that equivalent measures by other countries would lead to like-for-like exemptions from the annual tax bill.

The charges imposed on airlines taking off or landing in Europe entered into force on January 1, designed to help the EU achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

Airlines backed by overseas governments have challenged the scheme's legality in court, but for the first time Germany has expressed concerns mainly over Chinese threats that it could cancel orders for EU-built Airbus planes.

The growing tensions, with airlines having long warned of an inevitable protectionist backlash from Asia and the Americas in particular, will be debated when EU environment ministers meet on Friday in Brussels.

The urged the on Friday to negotiate with countries opposed to the EU's airlines fee to "de-escalate" opposition and avoid trade disputes.

Germany's economics ministry "is viewing the international development at the moment with the EU emissions trade with concern," spokeswoman Tanja Kraus told reporters, adding that conflicts should be avoided.

According to a report on Thursday, Hong Kong Airlines may cancel a $3.8 billion order for 10 Airbus superjumbo A380 jets after Beijing banned its from paying the EU tax.

Germany anticipates raising 256 million dollars from the tax in 2012, according to Commission figures.

China is among more than two dozen countries including India, Russia and the United States, strongly opposed to the .

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

( —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...