Wednesday

1st Dec 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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.

Magazine

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.

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. Ukraine eyes end of EU gas transit from 2024
  2. France says ready to talk about migrants if UK serious
  3. Latvia calls for permanent US troops to guard against Russia
  4. OPCW members urge Russia to come clean on Navalny
  5. Japan bars foreign arrivals as omicron spreads
  6. US to expel 54 more Russian diplomats, Moscow says
  7. Chinese president promises Africa one billion Covid vaccines
  8. Andersson elected as Swedish PM for second time in one week

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  2. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says
  3. Pesticides 'cost double the amount they yield', study finds
  4. Scholz's first job? Work with Poland on Belarus crisis
  5. Why Is Italy struggling to convert its anti-vaxxers?
  6. Consultancies pocketing EU millions prompts MEP grilling
  7. Russian mercenaries using EU-trained soldiers in Africa
  8. EUobserver wins right to keep VIP-jet story online

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us