Saturday

21st Oct 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 for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks