30th Jul 2021

MEPs vote to include airlines in emissions scheme earlier

MEPs are pushing to have airline companies take part in the EU's emissions trading system a year earlier than planned.

Following a vote in the European Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday (27 May), airlines would be obliged to be a part of the pollution-reducing scheme from 2011, with the sector having to pay for 25 percent of its permits to produce carbon dioxide in the first year and from 2013 falling into line with other sectors.

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

  • Business planes are also to fall within the scheme (Photo: Adrian Pingstone)

The measures will apply to all aircraft taking off or landing in the 27-nation bloc. Business jets will also be included in the scope of the scheme but small aircraft will not.

"This vote demonstrates the parliament's determination to get tough with the aviation sector," said UK Green MEP Caroline Lucas following the vote, which passed with an overwhelming majority.

Under the original proposal by the commission, airlines would only have to take part in the emissions scheme from 2012.

German centre-right MEP Peter Liese, in charge of the dossier in parliament, said the parliament wants to be more "ambitious" than member states and that it wants to "do more for the environment."

The emissions trading scheme is seen as a cornerstone of the bloc's environment policy and key to achieving its headline goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

Futher wrangling to come

A final vote on the issue is expected in the parliament's plenary in July. However, there is likely to be a bit of a tussle between member states and MEPs in the run-up to the vote, with national governments having hoped for a much lower percentage of permits that are allocated through auctioning.

Member states suggested that only 10 percent of pollution permits should be auctioned.

Ms Jackson called on MEPs to not weaken the legislation in their push to reach a deal before summer.

"I will be urging colleagues to accept a compromise only if the Council [representing member states] makes significant moves towards the parliament's more climate-friendly position during the forthcoming negotiations," she said.

According to Mr Liese, other potential sticking points with member states include what to do with the revenue from the scheme - he is suggesting it boost more environmentally friendly public transport.

The agreed changes would likely amount to as much as €10 for flights within the EU and up to €40 on intercontinental flights.

The airline association, IACA, reacted with dismay to the vote.

"Voting for such a scheme in the context of today's high fuel prices and economic downturn is a sign of ignorance, or denial, of the economic realities facing airlines today," said IACA Director General Sylviane Lust.

It is particularly concerned the aviation sector will eventually be forced into 100 percent auctioning for pollution permits from 2013, something it has previously said would cost €15 billion annually.


Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?

Greece has always been Europe's outlier. It faces an implacably hostile neighbour in Turkey under its assertive authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Until Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, Greece had no European Union member state as a neighbour.

EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension

The US remains closed to tourists from the EU and the UK - a situation that has prompted frustration and urgent calls for the reopening of international travel to vaccinated individuals by industry and countries.

Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling

Thousands of Polish judges, prosecutors and lawyers have rallied to support the primacy of EU law, amid demands for Poland to suspend a politically-charged disciplinary chamber for judges.


Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose

In a worst-case scenario, the EU's climate policies would exclude developing nations from international trade, forcing them to trade with each other, forming economic and environmental 'ghettos' while the wealthy West enjoys the benefits of free trade and clean energy.

EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates

The European Union has vaccinated 70 percent of its adult population with one shot. "The EU has kept its word and delivered," said EU Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. However, only 57 percent of adult Europeans are fully-vaccinated.

News in Brief

  1. Officials worried at infection-surge on Greek holiday islands
  2. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  3. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  4. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  5. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform
  6. EU adopts guidelines to 'climate-proof' infrastructure projects
  7. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  8. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment


Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

After Brexit, the UK ceased to be a member of the Lugano Convention, an international treaty which governs cross-border civil and commercial legal disputes. In May, the European Commission published an opinion calling for the UK's re-application to be rejected.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Malta responsible for journalist's death, inquiry finds
  2. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  3. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  4. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  5. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  6. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  7. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  8. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us