PARIS – European Union officials are preparing a proposal to harmonize taxes on passenger cars with the introduction of an EU-wide tax on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a senior EU official said.
Laurent Selles, who is the deputy head of the automotive division of the EU’s industry directorate, said a proposal is ready for discussion and should be submitted to the EU Commission “within two to three months.”
This draft “directive on passenger car-related taxes” recommends the introduction of a CO2 tax as a partial substitute to the wide array of car taxes that now exist in the 25 EU member states.
If the Commission approves the directive, it goes to the EU heads of state and government and the EU Parliament, a process that can take up to three years.
Tax harmonization has been a difficult issue in the EU, because it directly interferes with individual governments’ abilities to raise money. “It will be a long evolution, not a revolution,” said Alfredo Filippone, spokesman for ACEA, the European carmakers association.
“We are favorable to a harmonization,” Filippone said. “And we are not adverse to a change of taxation philosophy that would take environment into account.
The directive, if adopted, would help European carmakers meet their commitment to reduce average CO2 emissions. Progress has been very slow in this area as customers shun the most environmentally friendly vehicles.