Azara Blog: EU considering new air travel tax

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Date published: 2005/05/14

The BBC says:

A new air travel tax to fund aid for the world's poor will be among the proposals discussed at the European finance ministers' meeting.
The Franco-German proposal for an aviation tax comes in two versions - either as a tax on jet fuel or tickets.

The two-day meeting "is not a decision making forum", an EU spokesman said.

The tax was "one of number of proposals" for ways to meet the EU's anti-poverty pledges under the Millennium Development Goals, he told the BBC News website.

The Millennium goals set the target of halving poverty worldwide by 2015.
The EU has promised any aviation tax would be passed only after full consultation with airlines to avoid hurting competitiveness.

Airlines believe a jet fuel tax, in particular, could hurt profits at a time when they are already struggling with high oil prices.

At present, the fuel used by airlines enjoys either a very low tax rate or is untaxed in EU member states.

Although airline fuel should be taxed, it should not be taxed specifically because of some completely unrelated EU policy goal, and so one can only conclude that they are hiding behind poverty in order to introduce a fuel tax with the minimum of fuss (the idea being that nobody could possibly oppose throwing money at poor countries). Of course air tickets themselves are already taxed, for the usual reason (governments are addicted to tax).

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