EU for voluntary aid levy on air tickets

European Union (EU) finance ministers have agreed on a voluntary levy on airline tickets to help finance additional development aid for poor countries, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has said.

    Jean-Claude Juncker (L) gave no details of the new scheme

    "We have an agreement to introduce voluntary contributions on air tickets," Juncker told reporters on Saturday after chairing a meeting of the 25 ministers to discuss a range of options for financing extra assistance for the world's poorest nations.

       

    He gave no details of how the scheme would operate, saying experts would work this out and the executive European Commission would propose a formal decision for ministers at their 7 June meeting.

     

    But Austria immediately denounced the idea as a burden on consumers and a distortion of competition and said it would not take part in such a scheme.

       

    An EU official said the scheme would be completely voluntary for member states, airlines and travellers. People purchasing a ticket in participating countries would be asked whether they agreed to contribute a small extra sum for development aid.

     

    No figure or rate for the levy was discussed.

     

    No consensus

     

    Austrian Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser, however, told reporters that the ministers were not united either on an air ticket tax or a possible tax on jet fuel, which they also discussed.

     

    "We are so far away from a consensus"

    Austrian Finance Minister
    Karl-Heinz Grasser

    "We are so far away from a consensus. Obviously the Commission will present a proposal at the next Ecofin meeting, so it could be a coalition of some countries. We will not take part," he said.

     

    "If you have 10 countries that tax our consumers, this is the most easy way for consumers to pay more. This is a distortion of competition on the one hand and increases taxes for the consumer," Grasser said, adding: "We are far away from a

    consensus on kerosene tax."

     

    The ministers were debating a variety of possibilities to achieve the agreed United Nations target of raising development aid to 0.7% of gross national income by 2015.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.