The European Commission
next month is set to propose a European Union-wide tax on air travel, a senior
official was quoted as saying on Monday. EU budget commissioner Janusz
Lewandowski told Financial Times Deutschland
he is looking at "an aviation scheme" among a small range of options
that could raise revenue directly for the European Union for the first time.
"There are various
options that would not affect the finance ministries and have a link to European
policy like a financial transaction tax, CO2-emission auctions and
an aviation scheme," said Lewandowski. Later in the interview, he said, "Another
possibility could be to tax what is directly connected to the single markets,
to the open sky, open travel. So an aviation duty could be something to be
charged on a European level."
At present, the EU does
not raise any of its annual revenue of €140 billion through direct taxation.
Instead, most of the money comes from contributions from members states in
proportion to their GDP, and a further contribution is made from value-added
tax revenues. The European Commission wants to increase the EU budget by 5.9
percent next year and believes direct taxation would provide the extra funds as
well as reduce the need for contributions from member states.
A small number of EU
states, including the United Kingdom, already impose departure taxes that enter
their own coffers, and Germany will do the same starting in January 2011.
Airlines are vehemently opposed to direct taxation, claiming that it deters
The U.K. and German
governments issued criticisms of Lewandowski's comments yesterday, saying taxation
is a matter for member states to determine at a national level.