(With thanks to Alfred for his tip on the Tips/Stories page)
A seemingly innocuous title maybe, but one that conceals a course of action that could signal the start of a trade war between the EU and the United States, at a time when Brussels is firefighting sovereign debt crises and staring down the barrel of the Euro disintegrating.
In the US House of Representatives, House Resolution 2594 was introduced in July this year. It read:
To prohibit operators of civil aircraft of the United States from participating in the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, and for other purposes.
In other words, the US Government is making it illegal for American airline operators to pay the EU’s tax on aircraft carbon emissions. The full details of the Bill are shown below:
In a rare show of bi-partisan cooperation, the Republicans and Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed the Bill unanimously. It now goes before the Senate and if it passes there all that stands between it being rejected or becoming law is the signature of President Obama. Among the key paragraphs of the Bill are these two notable assertions used as justification for the US position:
(3) The European Union’s extraterritorial action is inconsistent with long-established international law and practice, including the Chicago Convention of 1944 and the Air Transport Agreement between the United States and the European Union and its member states, and directly infringes on the sovereignty of the United States.
(6) There is no assurance that ETS revenues will be used for aviation environmental purposes by the European Union member states that will collect them.
It is not just the US lining up against the EU on this matter. In the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) no less than 26 countries are opposed to the EU’s arbitrary measure.
After years of acting with impunity against the interests of the citizens of the member states, the EU now finds itself facing proper concerted opposition to its behaviour. This could become part of a snowball effect as Brussels comes under attack from multiple directions on multiple issues and add to a sense of crisis across the political class within the bloc. We are now living in what the Chinese call ‘interesting times’.