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EU finance ministers call for aviation taxation

Nine EU finance ministers (from Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden) have called on the next European Commission to propose new measures on aviation pricing. The Dutch-led initiative claims that “aviation is not sufficiently priced” compared to other transport modes.

The nine countries in question are responsible for more than half of the EU’s aviation emissions. Spain and the UK are notable absences from the letter, although both will hold elections over the next month.

In May, the Dutch government announced that in lieu of an EU-wide strategy it would start taxing tickets in 2021. Germany and France have also proposed increased levies on passengers. is moving towards increasing existing levies on passengers.

Reacting to the proposed French tax, ERA Director General Montserrat Barriga has commented: “while curbing demand by taxing aviation may look like a promising avenue to some, it raises important questions and requires a thorough and concerted impact analysis. One aspect to be emphasised is the impact of aviation tax on European regions. There is little doubt that regional communities across Europe have come to depend on air connectivity for their development. Taxing aviation involves risks as the economics of regional air connectivity are fragile and subject to volatile/changing market dynamics. ERA is understandably concerned that taxing aviation would hurt regional air connectivity in a disproportionate way. This means that taxing aviation raises serious issues of social and territorial inequality – the very themes that are driving public debates and politics across the EU right now.”