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Bulgaria joins list of countries calling for aviation tax to combat climate change

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Bulgaria has become the first country from emerging Europe to join a group of European countries calling for the imposition of a tax to neutralise the environmental damage caused by the aviation sector.

In a joint statement released on November 11, the finance ministers of Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands asked the European Commission to introduce a measure to offset CO2 emissions of planes.

“We believe that more coordination on pricing of negative externalities of aviation could ensure that the polluter pays a fairer price for the use of aviation transport,” the statement says. “We therefore call upon the incoming European Commission to bring the debate on aviation pricing, e.g. in the form of aviation taxation or similar policies a step further, while taking into consideration existing effective national systems and policies, the competitiveness of the sector’s concerns, the geographical position and the development of the transport infrastructure in member states.”

Only six EU member states currently levy taxes on international aviation in the form of ticket taxes for passengers departing from their airports. The highest average tax rates are in the UK.

European Commissioner Frans Timmermans, who is responsible for the European Green Deal and a European Climate Law, said he will get back on the matter “hopefully” by the December 20.

“The Commission will look at several possibilities,” said Mr Timmermans. “I am personally a proponent of a kerosene tax: if you put petrol in your car, you pay taxes and, if you take a train, the train company has paid taxes for the energy they use, so why aren’t we taxing the energy we put on airplanes? It doesn’t make any sense.”