Parliament calls for stronger energy taxation framework

On 24 September, the Parliament adopted a report on an EU framework for energy taxation although it was not satisfied with the content of the proposal.

The Parliament on 24 September adopted a report on a framework for energy taxation in the EU, concluding 6 years of lively debate and eventually paving the way for a directive which is due to enter into force on 1 January 2004.

In particular, the directive aims to:

  • reduce distortions in competition that currently exist between energy products as only mineral oils have been subject to EU tax legislation up to now and not coal, natural gas or electricity;
  • increase the incentive to use energy more efficiently;
  • allow Member States to offer companies tax incentives in return for specific undertakings to reduce emissions.

On 20 March 2003, the Council had given its political agreement to the proposed directive (see

EURACTIV 20 March 2003).

The Parliament was dissatisfied with the content of the Council's position, as it had wished for a much stronger framework. However, it limited itself to a few amendments, conceding that the proposal was a step in the right direction under difficult circumstances.

  • It requested that all Member States should be able to offset road user charges against oil tax.
  • It emphasised that regulation overlapping with emissions trading should be avoided as far as possible.
  • It introduced a number of amendments aimed at promoting renewable energy by exempting it from taxation.
  • It stated that aviation fuel should only be exempt from taxation if Member States are bound by international commitments; this does not usually apply for flights within the EU.

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