German ecotax initiative "the first step"

Environment agency chief foresees more moves to come, greater EU coordination

The German government's plan to raise energy taxes to pay for cuts in payroll taxes should be seen as just a "first step" towards a deeper ecological tax reform, head of the federal environment agency Andreas Troge said today. Interviewed in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, Mr Troge said the initiative sent a "clear signal" that energy will become more expensive, but stressed that further reforms should be made "step-by-step" to enable businesses to adapt. Whereas the government's energy tax proposal includes reduced rates or exemptions for many industries, future ecotax initiatives should grant fewer exemptions, he continued. It would also become more important for the EU to coordinate action to introduce environmental taxation, Mr Troge said. He said he expected that such EU-wide initiatives would now appear, following Germany's announcement that it will raise the issue of energy taxation during its term as EU presidency in the first half of next year (ENDS Daily 4 December). Meanwhile, German environmental group Nabu has also evaluated the government's proposed ecological tax reform, which it describes as "well-meant but not enough". In particular, the group criticised the planned 6 pfennig rise in petrol prices as "laughably" small.

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