EU Commisioner Wants to Implement Carbon Tax

March 8, 2010 International Tax CooperationTaxation in EUTaxation in SweedenTaxation in UK

the not-so-impossible dreamAlgirdas Semeta, Taxation Commissioner of the EU, has stated that he wishes to see a carbon tax instated across the entirety of the European Union, and will lead a review to make it happen.

The widely debated topic of Carbon Taxation has once again been brought up with the revelation that the European Commission (EC) will soon lead an inquiry about a possible EU-wide implementation of such a measure. In a statement made by Emer Traynor, spokeswoman for Algirdas Semeta, revision of the current Energy Taxation Directive was a priority issue for the Commissioner. Further, in a previous statement made in Brussels, Algridas Semeta said that carbon taxes “…on a larger, European scale seems desirable, as they would undoubtedly encourage innovation to strengthen energy efficiency and environmental protection.”

A proposal for a new carbon taxation system is expected to be released in May. Previously released EC drafts indicated that the tax would be based on the exact amount of Carbon Dioxide released by various fuels, and not their net energy, ideally leading to refinements in their use or implementation.

The concept of EU-wide taxes is still a controversial idea and is not wholly accepted by EU-member nations or the EC. Although, Carbon Taxes have grown to be a widely discussed and considered option in recent years, with numerous member states pushing for implementation of such measures. Earlier in 2010, French President Nicolas Sarkozy vowed that a Carbon Tax would be instated in France before the end of the year. In 2009 attempts were made in France to create similar measures. Though they were deemed to be unlawful by French Constitutional Council, and were subsequently dropped. Due to internal differences of opinion, the EC has not previously made a strong statement as to its intention of implementing an EU spanning tax, the problem is compounded by the fact that unanimous agreement would be needed across all member-states before any measures are implemented.

The UK Government has already spoken out against the proposed measure, releasing a statement that saying, “We believe that member states are best placed to choose the policy tools for achieving their climate change objectives.” Carbon Taxes have already been implemented on a national level by the EU-member nations Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

Photo by garden beth

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