New EU members given leeway on energy taxes
The European Commission has proposed amendments to last year's landmark EU energy tax framework directive to allow a series of derogations from the rules for states joining the bloc on 1 May. Subject to unamimous approval by current EU governments, all accession states bar Cyprus will be allowed to apply taxes on various energy products at rates lower than specified in the directive. Most will have to be gradually aligned with EU minima and all derogations will end by 2012. Several existing EU states won similar exemptions (EED 28/10/03). See press release.
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