Flying is responsible for over 13 per cent of the EU’s CO2 emissions. If the EU wants to meet its climate targets, something needs to be done, say the students in a statement. Especially since more sustainable ways of transportation, like trains, can’t compete with the heavily subsidized air-travel industry.
“Firstly, aviation receives a direct subsidy of €3 billion a year for operation and infrastructure developments”, they continue. “Secondly, aviation is exempted from the basic consumer tax, VAT, that is placed on almost every good and service across the EU (apart from a limited number of necessities) leading to a shortfall of at least €7 billion per year in EU member state budgets. Finally, aviation does not pay any fuel tax.” It’s that last thing, they want to put an end to. A kerosene tax should be placed on all flights within the EU. An exemption can be made for flights to islands that are hard to reach otherwise.
In order for the initiative to be successful, they have to gather 1 million signatures from people all over the EU. Not an easy task, but “the ECI is the only instrument that citizens can use at the European level to voice their concerns and put pressure on their governments and on the EU”, says Fasos-student Anaïs Bismuth, one of the initiative takers. “The aim of the ECI is not only to propose a text, but also to show to national governments that citizens all around the European Union are concerned about climate change and more importantly that they are ready to take necessary actions to build a greener future.”
If they do get their signatures, the European Commission will look at the proposal and give the initiative takers a chance to present it during their meeting.