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Brussels, 19 April 2012

Statement following the vote on the Energy Taxation Directive in the EP Plenary

Following the vote on the Energy Taxation Directive in the EP Plenary today, Commissioner Šemeta said:

I appreciate the European Parliament's support today for more coherent taxation of energy products based on their CO2 and energy content.

I regret however that the Parliament could not fully support the proposal which it has been seeking for years. The rejection of the alignment of motor fuel taxation is particularly disappointing.

I remain convinced that the Commission’s proposal for the revision of the Energy Tax Directive is the right way forward.

This is a green growth initiative. It is fully in line with our climate change commitments and the goal of a more resource efficient, sustainable economy in Europe. Moreover, it supports a growth-friendly tax shift in the Member States and could create a million jobs across Europe by 2030.

The Commission’s proposal does not seek to penalise diesel, but to tax fuels in a neutral way. All fuels would compete on the basis of their merits instead of tax advantages. Moreover, the alignment of taxation rates will allow greener, innovative and more energy efficient fuels a fair chance on the market.

The impact on diesel prices has been overstated. Already today a majority of Member States tax diesel at rates higher than the minima set out in our proposal. National governments will maintain flexibility in how they structure their energy taxes, and options exist to prevent a rise in diesel prices if this is what they want to achieve.

In any case, any potential increase in diesel price from the revised ETD would be miniscule compared to the price hikes that frequently occur due to our dependency on international energy markets. If the revised Energy Taxation Directive can help reduce the EU’s reliance on fuel imports, and our corresponding vulnerability, we will all be better off.

Our proposal gives the car industry – which is known for its innovation and ability to respond to new trends – plenty of time to adapt. It is neither today's car nor the car of tomorrow which is at stake, but the car of our children or even grandchildren.

I would like to stress that the proposal is not only about transport fuels. The identification of a CO2 component would allow companies to be exempt from it if they are already covered by the EU ETS. This would mean fewer taxes compared to the current burden, and increased growth.

I am grateful for the efforts of many Members of the European Parliament, and in particular Astrid Lulling, to compromise on a constructive report in the area of energy taxes. I will continue to defend the Commission’s position, as I believe that the revised Energy Taxation Directive is an environmental and economic opportunity which should not be missed."

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