EU energy tax deal on the horizon

Agreement on definition of energy-intensive businesses settles first of four outstanding issues

EU states are making creeping progress towards a deal to lay down an energy taxation framework for the bloc. Yesterday finance ministers resolved one of four outstanding issues holding up an accord on the package by agreeing on the definition of energy-intensive industries that might later benefit from tax reductions. EU sources say the remaining points could be settled within a month.

Hopes for an agreement had been low since a Spanish effort to finalise the package under its presidency earlier this year were frustrated; former Danish energy minister Svend Auken recently suggested the dossier would not figure strongly in Denmark's priorities during its six-month stint in the EU chair (EED 19/08/02).

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