Commission to tease carbon tax and nuclear treaty overhaul

(EurActiv, 9 Apr 2019) The European Commission will make the case later on Tuesday (9 April) for scrapping national vetoes on environmental tax changes and for finally updating the bloc’s venerable nuclear treaty, last amended in 1957.

EU member states should grasp the nettle and allow taxation of environmental issues to be decided by majority vote, according to the European Commission, which has made a fresh push to inject “decisive action” into how Brussels combats climate change.

Under current procedures, fiscal policy requires a unanimous decision from the 28 member states and numerous initiatives have often fallen by the wayside thanks to just one belligerent country not being on board.

But since late 2017, the Commission has been pushing them to give up their sacred cow, particularly in certain areas of foreign policy and, more recently, environmental matters.

In a new communication, obtained by EURACTIV, the Commission reiterates that fundamental rules do not have to be changed and calls on EU leaders to use “the obvious route” offered by the Lisbon Treaty to change the way they do business in the future.

The 2007 treaty, which governs the functioning of the EU, already includes so-called passerelle clauses that can change the agreement’s requirements without the need for full-blown treaty change.

Activating a passerelle clause to remove unanimity would, perhaps ironically, require a unanimous decision in the Council, as well as approval from the European Parliament.

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EurActiv, 9 Apr 2019: Commission to tease carbon tax and nuclear treaty overhaul