Saturday

19th Aug 2017

Focus

China joins legal battle against EU aviation tax

  • The EU has said it will stick with its carbon emissions plans (Photo: El Bingle)

Four Chinese airlines are to legally challenge Europe's new carbon emission taxes, which are due to take effect from 1 January.

The four carriers - Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines - have the backing of the country's air transport association, which claims the new carbon emission rules will cost Chinese airlines some €95 million.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The association asked all Chinese carriers not to take part in the EU carbon trading scheme, not to submit carbon emission monitoring plans or to negotiate with the EU on a bilateral basis.

From 1 January airlines will be required to buy permits for 15 percent of the emissions generated on flights to, from and within the EU. The figure will rise to 18 percent in 2013-2020.

US airlines have already challenged the scheme in court.

A ruling by the European Court of Justice is expected on Wednesday. A legal opinion by the court issued in October said the carbon emission rules were compatible with EU law. The opinion is non-binding, but it is usually followed by the judges in their final verdict.

Some airlines, such as America's cargo giant UPS, are already thinking about re-routing flights in order to side-step the scheme and cut costs, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move is likely to end up creating more carbon emissions.

Mitch Nichols, president of UPS Airlines, told the newspaper that the company may look at redirecting flights between its hubs in Hong Kong and Cologne, Germany, by going through Mumbai. That will cut the cost of the tax by about a quarter because UPS would only be charged for the distance flown between Cologne and Mumbai. But the distance flown will increase by 1,100 miles, upping the emissions.

US foreign policy chief Hillary Clinton last week sent a letter to several EU commissioners urging them to suspend the enforcement of the carbon scheme and re-negotiate with governments around the world.

"Halt or, at a minimum, delay or suspend application of this directive. Re-engage with the rest of the world. The United States stands ready to engage in such an effort. Absent such willingness on the part of the EU, we will be compelled to take appropriate action," she warned.

In a statement on Tuesday (20 December), the Association of European Airlines expressed fears of an imminent trade war should the plan go ahead. "Even if the ECJ (EU court) decides that the EU (emissions trading scheme) conforms with EU law, this will not resolve non-European countries' vehement hostility," it said.

EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard has refused to back down, however.

"It is not just an idea, it is EU law," she told Financial Times Deutschland, stressing that the commission will not give in to pressure from the US or elsewhere.

EU court backs airline emissions cap

An EU plan to cap airplane emissions from January is legal, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice said on Thursday in a response to a complaint from US airlines. The industry expressed its 'disappointment' with the legal opinion, which is usually confirmed by the court's verdicts.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides