Brussels - The European Union is set to partially suspend its controversial airlines emissions tax scheme, officials said Tuesday, as part of a bid to push international critics into reaching a global aviation deal.
Since last year, all airlines landing and taking off from EU airports have been liable for their carbon dioxide emissions, a move that infuriated countries such as the United States, China, Russia and India.
But after the bloc's parliament and governments struck a deal on Tuesday, the EU is now set to “stop the clock” for airlines flying intercontinental routes until the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) holds its general assembly in September.
The suspension should go into effect before April 30, EU parliamentarian Peter Liese said.
Internal flights within the EU will continue to be liable for their emissions.
In the past, the EU had justified its decision to proceed unilaterally on aviation emissions by pointing to 15 unsuccessful years of pushing for a global agreement.
“It is now up to ICAO to deliver,” said Irish Environment Minister Phil Hogan, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency. “I hope this ... derogation will serve as an incentive in the negotiations.”
“Nobody should put our determination in question to address the problem of aviation emissions,” Liese added.
The European Parliament and EU governments still have to endorse the deal reached on Tuesday, but the move usually is a formality. - Sapa-dpa