Authors: Dr Dominic Hogg (Eunomia) Tim Elliott (Eunomia) Laurence Elliott (Eunomia) Sarah Ettlinger (Eunomia) Tanzir Chowdhury (Eunomia) Ayesha Bapasola (Eunomia) Hulda Norstein (Eunomia) Luke Emery (Eunomia) Professor Mikael Skou Andersen (Aarhus University) Patrick ten Brink (IEEP) Sirini Withana (IEEP) Jean-Pierre Schweitzer (IEEP) Andreas Illes (IEEP) Kamila Paquel (IEEP) Ignasi Puig Ventosa (ENT) Sergio Sastre (ENT) Luís Campos (ENT). Aarhus University. ENV D.2/ETU/2015/0005
Tuesday 26 January 2016, by Carlos San Juan
The 2016 European Semester will soon begin with the adoption of the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) (expected to be in November 2015). The AGS contains priorities which should be addressed in the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) which are due by the end of April 2016. Subsequently, the Commission will propose a series of Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) accompanied by an analysis in the form of Commission Staff Working Documents (SWDs) for each Member State.1 The CSRs will be discussed and subsequently adopted following endorsement by the European Council in June/July. It is intended that this study may feed into the development of the CSRs for 2016. The previous (2015) AGS acknowledged that "employment and growth can be stimulated by shifting the tax burden away from labour towards other types of taxes which are less detrimental to growth, such as recurrent property, environment and consumption taxes”.
2 The AGS set out three pillars that it foresaw as underpinning the EU’s economic and social policy for 2015:
A coordinated response to boosting investment; A renewed commitment to structural reforms; and
The pursuit of fiscal responsibility. Environmental taxes (together with consumption and recurrent property taxes) are considered less detrimental to growth than other taxes such as on labour or corporate income and are increasingly promoted in the context of economic recovery and growthfriendly fiscal consolidation.3 The references to more growth friendly tax systems, and the expressed desire to promote more efficient use of both energy and other resources, point towards a role for environmental fiscal reform (EFR) as a means to set the European economy on a trajectory of growth with a strong shade of green.
This study, undertaken by Eunomia Research & Consulting (Eunomia) in conjunction with the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), Aarhus University, ENT and Denkstatt, has, as its central aim, to:
“to provide argumentation and empirical data or secondary sources on the potential economic and social benefits of environmental fiscal reform, to support the input in the European Semester process on environmental protection and resource efficiency, for all EU Member States.”. Eunomia has previous led two studies with a similar focus, these covering 26 of the 28 EU Member States.4,5 This report covers all Member States, including, as per the specifications, the following two tasks:
Assessing the environmental tax reform (ETR) potential for Luxembourg and Portugal. Update of the ETR potential for the EU26 Member States from two previous studies.
A further task – ‘Input for the Commission Environmental Fiscal Reform (EFR) Information System’ – is taking place outside of this report (but includes consideration of how to make use of information contained within it).