With the EU seeking to find new ways to finance its central budget, the European Commission recently made a worrying and ill-conceived suggestion: to introducean EU charge on aviation as one of several new financing mechanisms for the EU’s own resources. ECA reacted strongly by asking Commission President Barroso to immediately withdraw this idea which would seriously harm the industry and its employees.
It a joint letter with ETF, ECA voices its concern that such a tax would be counter-productive as it would:
- negatively impact a sector which contributes significantly to the EU’s socio-economic development, providing significant economic activity and employment, and which acts as a catalyst for Europe’s economy as a whole;
- be against the Lisbon Agenda’s objectives to make our economy more competitive and to generate quality employment. ECA is particularly concerned about the negative impact on employment in a sector, where employees are already under considerable pressure due to the economic slowdown and fierce competition in an increasingly aggressive market place.
- reduce the sector’s competitiveness vis-à-vis air carriers from other regions (Gulf region, Asia, etc.). The tax would de facto be an EU subsidy to these foreign carriers as it would help them to replace air transport currently undertaken by European carriers – thereby destroying quality employment in Europe by off-shoring it to these regions, where employment conditions are often far below the EU’s standards
ECA asked the EU Commission President for a meeting and is awaiting a formal answer to our concerns – concerns that are widely shared by many other aviation stakeholders.