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"Plastic tax" approved at EU summit


The budget deal reached by EU heads of state
and government includes a new "plastic tax"
22.07.2020 − 

Member states will be required to make payments to the EU budget based on the amount of non-recycled plastic packaging waste they generate. At the summit meeting this past weekend, the heads of state and government agreed that the budget "contribution", colloquially referred to as a "plastic tax", would apply from 1 January 2021. It has been set at €0.80 per kilogram, unchanged from the call rate included in earlier drafts of the EU budget. According to the summary document released by the Council, the member states also plan to include a mechanism that would prevent financially weaker members from being unduly burdened by the contribution.

A tax or levy on non-recycled plastic packaging waste was first floated as a means of creating a new revenue source for the EU budget at the beginning of 2018 by then-Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger. However, the budget proposal tabled by the Commission in May 2018 included the contribution approved this weekend and not a direct tax on plastic packaging waste generators. The decision on how to finance these new payments to the EU will be left up to the individual member states.

The contribution for non-recycled plastic packaging waste is to be the first of several new "own resources" for the EU budget. According to the conclusions document issued at the end of the summit, the EU also plans to introduce a "carbon border adjustment mechanism" and a digital levy by 1 January 2023. The EU Commission is to submit proposals on these addi-tional sources of own revenues in the first half of 2021. The Commission is also expected to present a proposal for a revised emissions trading system (ETS). It was also agreed that the EU would "work towards" the introduction of other own resources including a financial transaction tax as part of the EU's next long-term budget.

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