EU finance ministers to come together to tackle climate change

30 Aug 19

EU finance ministers will meet to discuss energy taxes and other moves to try to fight the threat of climate change next month.

The group will go to Helsinki to set out a working agenda to step up Europe’s efforts against global warming.

Ahead of the meeting, Finland’s Ministry of Finance identified carbon pricing (charges applied to polluters), budgetary planning and EU funding allocation as three “powerful tools” the ministers have at their disposal.

Minister of finance Mika Lintilä said: “As finance ministers we can strengthen such economic policy measures and thereby take a decisive step forward in climate action. To do this we need to set out a working agenda.”

The ministers will also discuss the role that energy taxes could play in mitigating climate change.
The European Commission is currently evaluating the energy taxation directive – the legislation that sets the minimum level of taxes applied to products used for fuel and electricity.

According to the commission, taxes form a “significant share” of the final price consumers pay for energy, and so can have a large impact on behaviour.

And because the rules have not substantially changed since 2003, there are still incentives for fossil fuels – despite the EU’s climate commitments.

At the Helsinki conference, ministers will discuss what needs to be taken into account if the directive is revised, and they will share experiences of energy tax reforms they have carried out in their own countries.

It is hoped regular such meetings will be set up for the future.

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