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10 Jul 2019, 13:01
Julian Wettengel

“Très bien”, “symbolic politics” – German media on French flight eco-tax plan

WDR / Die Welt / Neues Deutschland

France’s plans to introduce an eco-tax of between 1.50 and 18 euros on flight tickets  got mixed reviews from commentators in the German media.

“The new tax in France brings back a bit of fairness to the planes,” writes Hendrik Buhrs for the public broadcaster WDR. Compared to other more environmentally friendly means of transport, taxes and levies on aviation have been low or non-existent. 
Gerhard Hegmann asks in an opinion piece in Die Welt: “Does French President Emmanuel Macron really believe that people will fly less because of 1.50 euros extra in economy class or 18 euros in long-haul business class?” France’s plans are “nothing but symbolic eco politics” without any steering effect and they are also inconsistent, because they do not include flights to the French overseas departments, writes Hegmann. 
The French proposal is “insufficient” for climate action and it remains to be seen whether it will actually be implemented, writes Haidy Damm in an opinion piece for Neues Deutschland. However, chances are better than with plans to tax diesel and petrol, which failed due to the “yellow vests” protests, writes Damm. “This measure does not hit the rural population that depends on the car.”

Emissions from air travel, a fast-growing source of greenhouse gases, have increasingly shifted into the focus of public attention in recent months both in Germany and across Europe, with leading climate researchers and several politicians calling for radical measures to reduce their impact on global warming. Aviation is currently taxed in different forms in Europe, from VAT on domestic flights to airport taxes, but fuel is exempt from levies thanks to an international agreement from 1944.

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