EU energy products tax directive adopted

Governments brush aside parliamentary suggestions to give formal approval to key tax harmonisation measure

A landmark EU directive setting minimum tax rates for all energy products is set to enter force on 1 January after being rubber stamped by environment ministers on Monday. The European Commission welcomed the development as "a major step forward". German environment minister J├╝rgen Trittin also saluted what he called "an important step for climate protection".

After six years' difficult and often interrupted negotiations, the directive was finally agreed by EU finance ministers in March (EED 21/03/03).

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