German environment minister open to Belgian aviation tax proposal
The Brussels Times / Spiegel Online
Belgium has proposed an EU-wide tax on commercial air travel to reduce carbon emissions. The proposal, made during a meeting of EU environment ministers, drew support from France, Sweden, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, The Brussels Times reports. The newspaper says no country openly opposed the idea. Before the meeting, German environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) told Spiegel Online that she is open to the idea. But under her proposed Climate Action Law, each ministry would be responsible for drawing up a plan to reduce emissions in its own sector, so any tax on aviation would have to come from transport minister Andreas Scheuer. Scheuer, who is part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc, has so far resisted other measures to lower emissions, like a speed limit on the German autobahn. Schulze, however, told Spiegel Online that an aviation tax makes sense. “It is no longer understandable that a train ticket is more expensive than a plane ticket for the same route,” Schulze said. She added that she assumes Scheuer will "present something" in this area.
Belgium has asked that an aviation tax be debated by the European Council during its June meeting. The issue will now go to the European Commission to draw up more specific proposals, the Brussels Times reports.