(19/02/03) De Europese Groenen bekritiseren het feit dat de Europese
ministers van Financiën gisteren geen akkoord bereikt hebben over energieheffingen. De Groenen spreken over
egoïsme van de afzonderlijke lidstaten, vooral Italië. Ecolo'ster Monica Frassoni, co-voorzitster van de
Groenen/EVA en van Italiaanse afkomst, grijpt het voorval aan om de eenparigheid van stemmen in de Raad in vraag
EU Finance Ministers fail to agree on energy taxes:
National egoism jeopardised much-needed tax reform
The Greens/EFA in the European Parliament today criticised strongly yesterday's failure of the EU Finance Ministers to adopt a new set of rules for energy taxation setting minimum levels of taxation for all energy forms.
Monica Frassoni, Co-President of the Green/EFA group said today:
"Once again, national interests prevailed over a proposal for a sound environmental legislation on a Community level. The Greens/EFA deplore that, after six years of negotiations on a Community framework for the taxation of energy products, EU finance ministers yesterday still were not able to agree on a compromise. The taxation proposal by the EU Presidency would have allowed the setting of new minimum levels of energy taxation in all member states and would have introduced a taxation of all competing sources of energy for the first time. At present only mineral oils are governed by a Community system of minimum taxation, but not coal, gas and electricity. This leads to distortions of competition between mineral oils and competing products, particularly gas and electricity, and between different Member States. The opportunity to create a kind of level playing field was missed yesterday.
"Apparently, the agreement was blocked by Italy before the Council meeting. This national egoism stopped the much-needed re-orientation of the European tax system away from taxes on labour towards eco-taxes, a reform which will help to create jobs and to protect the environment at the same time.
"The failure yesterday also means that there will be no adaptation of the already modest minimum rates which have not been revised since 1992, so being much cheaper in real terms now than ten years ago.
"Yesterday's deadlock on energy taxes showed clearly, how damaging for an efficient decision-making the need for a unanimous vote in the Council has become. It will lead to a paralysis of EU legislation when ten more countries join the Union in 2004. There is a clear need for the Convention to make the case for the extension of qualified majority voting in taxation matters, notably when linked to the environment.
"A Community framework for the taxation of energy products must be in place before the enlargement, if even larger distortions are to be avoided. We call upon the EU finance ministers to show the political will to adopt the compromise at their next meeting on the 7 March."