EU could use carbon border tax against Brexit Britain, warns MEP

(EurActiv, 28 Jan 2020) The EU could deploy a carbon border tax against the UK after Brexit, according to the head of the European Parliament’s environment committee, if Westminster diverges from bloc rules on issues like carbon markets.

French MEP Pascal Canfin told reporters on Monday (27 January) that the EU “should be tough” and “shouldn’t be afraid of an economic no-deal in December”, as the next round of Brexit-based negotiations loom on the horizon.

The talks will determine what sort of relationship the UK and EU will have after the transition period ends on 31 December and Canfin made clear that divergence from bloc rules will make trade relations more difficult.

“Talks haven’t started on the right path, with the UK government saying it wants full [single market] access but also divergence. To me that is like the EU asking for full alignment but with quotas,” the lawmaker warned.

As head of the Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI), Canfin will help advise negotiators on related issues during the talks, citing carbon markets as a tangible example of where difficulties might arise.

The UK is currently a part of the EU’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) but the government plans to leave the carbon market and set up its own carbon-pricing equivalent. Canfin told reporters that “the markets have to have the same price”.

“For the EU’s industry, you can’t accept that the UK has full access” to the EU’s single market while a lower carbon price is on offer across the Channel, he insisted. 

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EurActiv, 28 Jan 2020: EU could use carbon border tax against Brexit Britain, warns MEP