Belgium on Tuesday proposed the introduction of a European tax on commercial aviation, based on its environmental impact, at a meeting of the Council of European Environment Ministers. “We’re convinced that the European Union needs to play a leading role for fair and correct air-transport pricing,” said Wallonia Minister Jean-Luc Crucke, speaking on behalf of Belgium.
During the meeting, the Belgian delegation called for just tariffs on air transport, based on its impact on the environment.
Studies show that CO2 emissions by planes are increasing constantly, noted Crucke, saying that the emissions had gone up by 21% in the past three years alone.
“Belgium has requested the inclusion of this point on the agenda because additional efforts will be, and are, necessary,” the liberal minister said. “We have to prevent the other EU economic sectors from having to compensate for aviation’s emissions.”
He also recalled that there was no tax to date on kerosene or VAT on plane tickets.
“A fair European pricing system for air transport should apply the principle of polluter-pays and re-establish fair competition with other means of transport,” he added.
During the meeting, Crucke formally called on the Romanian chair to include the issue on the agenda of the next Environment Council, to be held in June, so that it can be fully debated.
For now, the European executive is studying the issue and is to come up with proposals for instruments in this regard.
Belgium’s call was supported by France, Sweden, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. No country openly opposed it.
“All doors are open, and I haven’t heard of any closing,” Crucke stressed, adding that if the EU Member States failed to reach agreement on the issue, there could be strengthened cooperation between some of them, although it was too early for any predictions.