“The bottom line here is obvious,” said Rep. Petri. “The
European Union seems not to have noticed that it is not
sovereign in the United States and has no right to levy
taxes here. The European Union also seems not to have
noticed that it is not sovereign over the rest of the
world, since the EU also intends to impose these taxes
on the citizens and businesses of non-European countries
worldwide. The non-Europeans have noticed, however, and
have joined with us in protest. The delay announced by
the EU yesterday is a temporary reprieve, but the
message and intent behind this legislation remains
2011, Chairman Mica led a Congressional delegation to
the European Union to convey opposition to the EU’s
plan. Mica also led a subsequent delegation to Montreal
to meet with International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) leaders, representatives of the EU, and other
officials regarding U.S. opposition to the ETS. ICAO is
the primary organization responsible for setting
international aviation standards.
The EU’s tax scheme, unilaterally imposed on January 1,
2012, applies to U.S. and other nations’ flights into or
out of an EU airport, regardless of how long that flight
is in EU airspace. If the plan is carried out in its
current proposed form, beginning in April 2014, U.S.
airlines will be required to pay an emissions tax to the
EU Member State to which they most frequently fly.
Although collected in the name of reducing emissions,
the current plan lacks transparency and there is no
clear requirement that the fees collected by EU
countries be used for this purpose.
addition to directing the Secretary to prohibit U.S.
aircraft operators from participating in the ETS, the
legislation directs the FAA, the DOT, and other
appropriate officials to enter into international
negotiations, including agreements to pursue a worldwide
approach to address aircraft emissions, and to take
appropriate measures under existing authorities to
ensure U.S. air carriers are held harmless from any ETS
unilaterally imposed by the EU. The measure also
prohibits the use of FAA, DOT, Trust Fund or any other
appropriated funds from being used to pay any tax or
penalty imposed on U.S. operator pursuant to the ETS.
and other Members of Congress have attempted to work
with their European counterparts, including meetings
with EU officials in Washington in March 2011, meetings
in Brussels in June/July 2011, and ICAO meetings in
Montreal in October 2011.
September 2011, 21 countries, including the United
States, signed a joint declaration expressing opposition
to the EU ETS. In November 2011, the global community
came together in opposition to the EU’s plans when the
ICAO Council approved a statement of opposition to the
Administration has also opposed the ETS, but diplomatic
efforts to block it have not led to the withdrawal of
the tax. Mica and Petri stated that a positive outcome
can still be achieved by continuing to work through ICAO
and the international community.