Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Caving in on the cave-in

The humiliating saga of the ETS aviation dispute has exposed the limits of respect for EU law, both outside and inside Europe.

It's not looking good for the European Commission's proposal to undo an EU law that would have charged all airlines for the emissions of flights taking off or landing in Europe. An increasing number of member states and MEPs are coming out in opposition. But they don't have a problem with the retreat. They say the Commission isn't retreating far enough.

Last week Germany, France and the UK told a meeting of member states that they want to change the proposal to a more complete surrender.

In October, in response to intense international pressure, the Commission proposed to change the law so that emissions that take place outside EU air space are exempt. But Germany, France and the UK want to exempt foreign airlines from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) entirely - even for the portions of flights that take place within EU airspace - because anything less would not be politically acceptable to China, India, Russia and the United States.