EU commissioner backs further energy taxation considerations

May 23, 2001 02:00 AM

Energy taxation is an important consideration for the efficient functioning of the single market as well as for meeting the European Union's environmental aims, EU Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said. He said Sweden has sought to raise the profile of this issue under its six-month tenure of the EU's rotating Presidency.
At an informal EU summit in Stockholm this March, Sweden initiated a debate on energy taxation, including a discussion on which fuels should be subject to additional levies, Bolkestein said. However, the talks had run into opposition from "a certain member state," which the Commissioner said was seeking to block the moves primarily on the grounds that it would lead to an overall increase in energy prices. He said the member state believes the move would fuel inflation as well as have a negative effect on industrial growth.

While Bolkestein said there was a slight danger that the changes in energy policy could translate into inflation, he said the argument that industry would be affected was unconvincing when one compared the situation in this country with that in other member states.
He added the Commission's powers were limited in pushing through the proposals, which he said were very modest, as they were not subject to qualified majority voting procedures. "However, sometimes arguments are more powerful," he said, adding, "I remain optimistic. We will see what happens at the next council meeting."

Source: Dow Jones via Energy24
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