EU Governments Make Environmental Fuel Tax Concessions

BRUSSELS, Belgium, September 19, 2000 (ENS) - Europe's high environmental fuel taxes are falling before determined protesters. Increasing numbers of European governments have started rolling out concessions to the fuel tax protesters that have convulsed France and Britain and are threatening to do the same elsewhere.

The pace of tax cuts and benefits has grown despite a consensus statement issued a week ago by European Union finance ministers in which each pledged not to cut taxes "for economic and environmental reasons."

Brussels

This webcam picture of Brussels taken today shows the brown smoggy air that fuel taxes are meant to combat. (Photo courtesy Topin)
The rationale for the taxes has been that making fuel more expensive will inspire drivers to use public transportation more frequently. The tax money collected could be used to enhance public transport and for other environmentally friendly programs.

But the resistance of Europe's finance ministers is crumbling as angry drivers feel the pinch of high fuel prices and supply shortages.

During the past 10 days, furious tax cuts campaigners have paralysed France and blocked roads in the European Union's unofficial capital, Brussels. Fuel shortages hit several parts of the UK following several days of oil refinery blockades. Similar direct action protests have occurred in Germany and Italy.

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{Published in cooperation with ENDS Environment Daily, Europe's choice for environmental news. Environmental Data Services Ltd, London. Email: envdaily@ends.co.uk}