Press release

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Commission plans to change decision making on energy taxation

Today, the European Commission will publish its communication on "A more efficient and democratic decision making in EU energy and climate policy". The document will set out plans on how to move decisions on energy taxation to Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in the Council. Under current rules, taxation policies must be decided by unanimity in the Council, giving every Member State a veto.

Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA spokesperson on energy and leading candidate for the European Green Party in the elections, comments:

"The Commission is only talking about changing unanimity in the case of energy taxation policies. We very much agree that the unanimity rule in taxation matters is a big problem, because all tax files get stuck in the Council including the energy taxation proposal from 2011. Taxation is key in order to stress how the EU is failing in creating a fair price for pollution. The EU Commission is right to raise the issue but the proposal is not a really solution, as the passarelle clause to get to majority voting in the Council still requires unanimity, which is very unlikely to happen.

"We see a big problem with the provision in Article 192(2) that is stating that measures affecting the Member States’ choice between different energy resources should be decided in unanimity. This hampers the Union to move on to the badly needed zero-emission energy system and this should be addressed by the Commission as well. Unfortunately, this Communication remains absent on this part.

The Communication identifies the problems that arise from the current Treaty to move to a zero-emission energy system, but only provides food for further discussion, whereas the decarbonisation of our energy system should be the key priority for the EU to become Paris-compliant."