Bordon moves to defend Italian carbon tax

Environment minister denies government set to maintain suspension of tax to restrain inflation

Italy's environment minister Willer Bordon moved swiftly on Thursday to quell speculation that the carbon tax on fossil fuels might not be re-introduced as planned by his predecessor Edo Ronchi (ENDS Daily 7 April). The tax was suspended last November, just 11 months after entering into force, due to fears of inflation (ENDS Daily 3 November 1999). The cabinet is to debate its re-introduction this week.

"I have absolutely no intention of putting the future of the carbon tax into question. Any comments I have made refer solely to the need for the government to decide on a possible increase in the carbon tax in 2000," Mr Bordon said in a press release.

Earlier in the day, the minister told journalists that although the carbon tax was "among the environment ministry's policy priorities...it is obvious that the government has to face the risk of an inflationary spiral triggered by oil price increases". "For this reason, any decision concerning a freeze on the carbon tax needs to be taken by the entire cabinet," Mr Bordon said.

Follow Up:
{Italian environment ministry} (http:\\www.minambiente.it), tel +39 06 57 22 55 80.

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