Environmental taxes on the rise in EU

Revenues from environmental taxation in the EU member states grew by 2.5% in 2012 to €311.7bn, data from statistical office Eurostat shows. But the average taxation level on activities and sectors including transport, resources and pollution as a proportion of GDP was roughly the same (2.4%) compared with 2011.

And the share of green taxation as a proportion of revenues from all taxes and social contributions decreased to 6.05%, from 6.11% the year before.

Environmental taxation relative to GDP was highest in Denmark and Slovenia at 3.87% and 3.82% respectively, and lowest in Spain at 1.57%.

The highest year on year increase was made in Slovenia, a change of 0.37%, while the biggest falls were in Cyprus and Portugal, down 0.22% and 0.18% respectively.

Slovenia was also the EU member state where environmental taxation was highest as a proportion of total taxation, at 10.15%.

Fiscal ‘greening’ and cutting environmentally harmful subsidies is a priority of commissioner Janez Potočnik. The European Commission is using the ‘European semester’ fiscal oversight programme to push countries such as Spain and France to raise their environmental taxes, as well as to seek higher fuel tax in popular car refuelling destination Luxembourg.

The EU executive will make the next round of recommendations to individual member states under the European Semester on 2 June.

A study for the Commission published last month found that 12 member states including France, Italy and Poland could boost their revenues by €35bn by 2016 through environmental tax reform, while cutting environmentally harmful subsidies could raise them a further €24bn.


Excerpted from ENDS Europe Daily