Friday

16th Nov 2018

End company-car perks, says EU commission

  • One of the reasons traffic in Brussels is often congested, is because the Belgian government has made it tax-friendly to have a company car (Photo: Peter Teffer)

EU member states should phase out tax breaks for company cars to help improve air quality, the European Commission said in a report published on Monday (6 February).

It also said the use of diesel cars should be discouraged.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Only five of 28 member states manage to stay under EU air pollution limits and report air quality “to be generally good with some exceptions”.

The rest have too high particulate matter concentrations or too high nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, the commission said in the first Environmental Implementation Review.

Both particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are toxic pollutants which can damage human health and the environment.

“Measures to achieve NO2 compliance have to target diesel vehicles in particular e.g. by introducing progressively stringent low emission zones in inner city areas or by phasing out preferential tax treatment,” the report said.

Several cities across the continent have already banned older types of diesel cars from central areas.

The commission also commented on countries that give tax advantages that promote the use of cars.

“Specific environmentally harmful subsidies, such as preferential tax treatment for certain fuels and tax advantages for privately used company cars, which impede progress in tackling traffic congestion and air pollution are still in place in many countries and need to be phased out,” the report said.

The commission has no power over taxation, which is the remit of national governments. But member states have failed to meet air pollution limits for years.

Monday's review showed that air quality rules are not the only ones where implementation on the ground has proved challenging.

It said “the main challenges and most pressing implementation gaps across member states are found in the policy fields of waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality, noise and water quality and management”.

The commission announced it would discuss with member states how they could better implement the rules.

EU to scrutinise environmental action

Modelled on the EU's economical monitoring mechanism, bi-annual reports should ensure that member states correctly implement the environmental acquis.

Dieselgate casts doubt over low emission zones

Many European cities use low emission zones, and some are considering to ban dirty cars. But there are limits to how well the EU standards can be used to determine which cars are clean.

Investigation

EU states dodge comment on damning emissions report

A European Parliament inquiry found that national governments showed "maladministration" in the Dieselgate file. But at a press conference, a representative of those governments did not want to comment.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  2. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  3. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  4. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  5. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  6. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  7. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May
  8. Denmark blocks Tanzania aid over homophobic crackdown

Opinion

Crunch time to end overfishing in the EU

What happens when a difficult deadline hits? This is precisely what is being played out in EU fisheries as we approach the landmark legal commitment under the Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing by 2020.

Opinion

No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected

Following the 2030 renewable target of 32 percent, chair of the European Parliament's environment committee Adina Valean argues in order to reach our climate and energy goals, we need both public and private investment over the next decade and beyond.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  2. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  3. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  4. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  5. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  6. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  7. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot
  8. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us