MPs support aviation fuel tax in north west Europe

30 November 2007

Politicians travel by train to Belgium to sign international declaration

Brussels, 30th November - Friends of the Earth Europe today brought together Members of Parliament (MPs) from Belgium, Germany, France, the UK and the Netherlands, who declared their commitment to introducing aviation fuel tax on flights between north-western European countries. Politicians caught a Thalys train from Schipol to Antwerp, where they took part in a ceremonial signing of the declaration. [1]

Belgian MP Bart Martens signing the Antwerp Declaration today, aided by the 'Non-flying Dutchman'. Photo credit: FoEE

Transport Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Netherlands, Joris Wijnhoven says:
"It is very encouraging that there is multi-party, international support for the proposal to tax aviation fuel for flights between north-western European countries. This would be an important step towards curbing the dramatic growth in aviation emissions that is contributing to climate change."

In the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France and the UK, the aviation sector is responsible for approximately 10 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, this is set to grow to 20% by 2020.

The MPs' proposal for fuel to be taxed first in northern and western European countries is a strategic step towards the taxation of aviation fuel across the whole of Europe. There are no juridical constraints to applying a fuel tax on flights between two countries on the basis of a bilateral agreement.

A majority in the Dutch parliament formed by PvdA, SP, GroenLinks, D66, CU and PvdD supports this demand. Outside of the Netherlands, MPs who have signed the declaration are from the political parties SPD and Grünen/Bündnis90 (Germany); Les Verts (France); GROEN! and SP.a (Belgium); and Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party (UK).

At Schiphol train station, Dutch MPs Paul Tang (PvdA - Social Democrats), Emile Roemer (SP - Socialists), Green Party chairman Henk Nijhof and Belgian MP Tinne van der Straeten and MEP Bart Staes (Groen) boarded the Thalys. In Antwerp the parliamentarians were joined by Belgian MP Bart Martens (SP.a). They were welcomed on board by the "Non-Flying Dutchman", the central character in the FoE Netherlands campaign that challenges the normality of flying. The name 'Non-Flying Dutchman' is wordplay on a Dutch legend of a ghost ship called "the Flying Dutchman' that can never go home, and is doomed to sail the oceans forever.

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Notes:

[1] Antwerp Declaration:

http://www.foeeurope.org/climate/download/Antwerp_Declaration_Aviation_Fuel_Tax.pdf

List of signees:

http://www.foeeurope.org/climate/download/Antwerp_Declaration_Signees_301107.pdf

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