Wednesday 19 February 2020

Dutch spearhead nine-country efforts for a European tax on flying

A plane landing at dusk. Photo:

The Netherlands and eight other EU countries have called on the European Commission to introduce a tax on flying to help offset the environmental damage caused by air travel.

Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark and Bulgaria have thrown their weight behind Dutch efforts to tax air travel, which unlike road and train transport escapes taxes on fuel.

Aircraft fuel is not taxed under a global agreement dating back to 1944 which was drawn up to stimulate flying when the industry was in its infancy.

But Dutch tax minister Menno Snel says that a bilateral agreement between EU countries could be a way around that rule.


The Netherlands unilaterally imposed a tax on air travel in 2008 but it was abandoned a year later when large numbers of passengers went over the border to Belgian and German airports.

The current government is committed to introducing a tax of €7 on every flight from 2021 but that plan will be dropped if the European Commission agrees to focus on an EU-wide tax.

EU commissioner Frans Timmermans, who is charged with environmental issues, told the Financieele Dagblad he supported the Dutch plan. ‘I consider the principle of the polluter pays to be fair and efficient,’ he said. has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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