Dutch gov't supports EU on new air travel tax

A plane approaches Schiphol Airport
A plane approaches Schiphol Airport. (Photo: @Schiphol / Twitter)

The Netherlands and eight other European countries are calling on the European Union to implement a tax on air travel. The governments of the nine countries signed a manifesto calling on the European Commission to come up with a proposal on this front, which will be handed to European Commissioner Frans Timmermans.

In addition to the Netherlands, the manifesto is signed by Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Demark, Sweden and Bulgaria. "Compared to most other means of transportation, aviation is not sufficiently priced. Aviation transport is exempted from excise duties, no VAT is levied on international flights, there is no coordinated ticket tax and economic instruments to curb greenhouse gas emissions can be strengthened in the aviation sector," the nine national governments said in a joint statement.

According to the countries, CO2 emissions caused by air travel are currently not being sufficiently taxed compared to other means of transport. About 2.5 percent of global CO2 emissions come from flying, but that is not reflected in the prices of airline tickets, they argue.

"It is not only the Netherlands, but a large group of other European countries, that think it's not right that flying, unlike the car, bus or train, is not taxed in any way", State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance said. "By working together now, we hope that this important topic can now fly further in Europe."

The Netherlands has been arguing for European legislation on air travel tax for years. If this attempt leads to nothing, the Netherlands plans to implement a national tax of 7 euros per airline ticket from 2021. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, will debate this proposal in two weeks.

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