Brussels A new tax on plastic waste is becoming more and more likely in the EU. EU Council President Charles Michel has now also spoken in favor of this – after consulting the heads of government of the 27 EU countries.
Michel presented its draft medium-term EU financial framework (MFF) for the years 2021 to 2027 to the member states on Friday. The paper is available to the Handelsblatt. At the very end, it’s about the new levy. Point 139 speaks of a “national contribution” to the EU budget, which is to be calculated “on the basis of the weight of non-recycled plastic waste”. The tax rate should be “0.80 euros per kilogram”.
The more precise modalities of the new tax are not explained in the draft. The only thing that is clear is that the new levy will not be levied by the EU but by the member states. And it will probably lead to higher prices for products in plastic packaging – an environmentally desirable effect.
The idea of a plastic tax has been around for a long time in the EU. Former German EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger campaigned for this for years. Nevertheless, the levy would probably not have had a political chance – if it weren’t for Brexit.
The UK’s exit gives the EU a loss of revenue of around ten billion euros annually. Most EU governments tend to think little of introducing a new tax on the Brussels budget, but the post-Brexit emergency has obviously changed the mood. Otherwise Michel would not have adhered to the plastic tax.
The EU Council President invited the heads of government to a special summit in Brussels next Thursday. The only topic on the agenda: the multiannual financial framework.
Michel is determined to get the MFF under wraps at this summit. Therefore, he spoke to almost all heads of government in the past few weeks and then presented his draft MFF. It is already the third of its kind. The EU Commission already presented the first in 2018. The second came from the Finnish EU Presidency at the end of last year and now Michel finally followed.
Two things stand out about his numbers. Firstly, the Belgian remained close to the Finnish model in terms of the total volume of the seven-year EU budget. According to Michel, the EU Commission will have around 1.905 trillion euros available over the next seven years.
This corresponds to 1.074 percent of the EU’s gross national product. These are the commitment appropriations. These are the theoretically promising, but practically never fully paid out funds. The Finnish draft was slightly lower at 1.087 trillion euros in absolute terms, which corresponds to 1.07 percent of the European gross domestic product.
Payment appropriations are more important for MFF negotiations – and they are more modest in Michel’s proposal: EUR 1.084 trillion, which corresponds to 1.06 percent of the EU’s gross domestic product. Michel is on par with the Finns.
Second, there is more money than originally planned for the traditional EU policy fields – agricultural and structural policy. There is less for the new tasks – migration, digitization, foreign and security policy. The EU Commission originally proposed to cut agricultural subsidies and aid for structurally weak regions so that there is more money for new challenges.
Already the Finns had largely canceled the cuts and Michel now put something on top for the farmers and the structurally weak regions. The budget for the EU’s future tasks is correspondingly smaller.
For example, only 6.67 billion euros are planned for seven years for digitization in Michel’s draft. During the same period, farmers are to receive 256.7 billion euros for area premiums and market support measures.
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