The polluter needs to pay. Given that the EU will not be able to meet its climate goals for 2020, the PES Group will keep pushing for more ambitious binding climate targets of 50% CO2 reduction, 40% renewable energy and 40% energy efficiency by 2030. This requires a holistic approach that targets the biggest polluters. Transport is the only sector in which emissions are still increasing. Yet aviation, as the most carbon-intensive mean of transport, has been exempt from any form of kerosene taxation.
While there is growing support in the public opinion on taxing kerosene at least for domestic flights and some Member States have committed to introduce such taxation, the EU as such has so far remained mute on the issue. Meanwhile, far less carbon-intensive trains and cars are subject to fuel taxation as well as to VAT. This gives aviation a preferential treatment, which could even qualify as disguised state aid. Hence, airline companies, as well as consumers, lack one of the strongest incentives to reduce the use of kerosene. As a result, the current EU policies in the transport sector also appear inconsistent with the EU’s climate commitments.
As progressive cities and regions, we are at the forefront of fighting the climate crisis. We have not only been implementing climate action on the ground but also acting as progressive local laboratories for developing best practices. Therefore, we know that we need more stringent measures if we want to fulfil our commitments and achieve the targets set by the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development goals. The recently registered Fairosene European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is devoted to introducing this long-overdue kerosene tax throughout the Union. In light of our PES member Frans Timmermans being the Commission executive vice-president in charge of drafting a European Green Deal, we express our full support for including the taxation of kerosene in future climate action.
Having a just transition towards a sustainable future is among the PES Group’s political priorities. Nobody shall be left behind. Taxing kerosene would deliver on that goal as it is high-income households that use planes the most. We can only remedy that social injustice if those with a bigger carbon footprint contribute more to offset it. Furthermore, the generated tax revenue could be invested in more sustainable alternatives, like the expansion of railways. This would also increase the mobility of lower-income households and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Fairosene Initiative puts forward the following proposal:
- It seeks to use the European-wide tax revenues to finance carbon-free mobility across Europe by investing in greener modes of transport (especially railways) and in research and development in carbon-free mobility.
- It recommends the maintenance of a tax exemption for flights to and from islands that are not connected to mainland Europe via any means other than air travel.
- It endorses a regressive tax rate for aviation fuel which would decrease as the distance of the flight increases.
If the European Citizens’ Initiative gathers one million signatures, the Commission will be obliged to give this matter the attention it deserves. The climate emergency is real and we need to act now.
As PES Group we commit to work to include references to the Fairosene ECI throughout all the relevant opinions of the European Committee of the Regions.
Let's end the unfair and harmful tax exemption on aviation fuel in Europe!
Thanks for the great presentation by @kerosenetax_EU at our Group meeting.
— PES Group Committee of the Regions (@PES_CoR) October 8, 2019