Green Budget News - December 2016
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Dear all, 

2016 has been a year of highs and lows for the EU, the outlook for fiscal reform as well as for GBE. It’s hard to overstate the level of turbulence the EU has faced this year. At the same time, tireless efforts were made to propose new climate and energy policies for 2030, and to press for real solutions to Europe’s economic crisis covering the EU budget as well as macro-economic reform.

At GBE we had a very successful European Parliament event in February. During the year we launched major reports on tax shift reforms – covering the income side of the EU budget with the European Greens/EFA, on air pollution from diesel cars with UCL, and on the European Semester with great collaboration from GBE's Member State experts. 

Our Parliament event in early 2016 helped secure a major new project – "Ending Diesel Subsidies in Europe" – which will start next month and run for two years. And the report on the EU budget will also help as GBE turns more to focus on this area in advance of the Commission proposal for reform, expected by the end of 2017.   

Our 2016 events, reports and advocacy brought coverage in the international press (Guardian and FT), as well as in the Brussels-based media (Euractiv, Eurobserver and Politico). We held meetings with commissioners and in Member State ministries, together with presentations at influential conferences at home and abroad. 

Alongside the highs, there has sadly also been a major low. GBE has long depended on two major funders, and in late 2016 one foundation signaled it would withdraw its support for GBE's work on the Semester, bringing with it a radical reduction in funding for 2017. 

The GBE team, together with its board and advisory committee, are working hard to come through this difficult period. 
There's still time in 2016 for you to make a difference. We welcome and appreciate the support you’ve been giving to GBE this year. Because of these particularly challenging times, we also want to provide you with the opportunity to further support GBE (KBC Bank  IBAN BE11 7340 4025 8948  BIC KREDBEBB or by emailing Bridget Farrell at

 We know there are challenges ahead, and are determined to rise to them. 
On behalf of the team, board and advisory committee, I would like to wish you and yours a peaceful holiday season and best wishes for 2017. 
James Nix,
Director, Green Budget Europe

Green Budget Europe’s latest reports


Communicating Green Own Resources: A new narrative for the EU Budget

This GBE study, commissioned by members of the Greens/European Free Alliance in the European Parliament, examines sustainability-oriented means of financing the EU budget and provides a set of arguments in favour of specific green own resource candidates.



From Challenge to Opportunity: Assessment of Country Reports and proposals for Country-Specific Recommendations in support of the European Semester Cycle

Green Budget Europe has carried out an assessment of the 2016 European Semester Country Reports among our network of members and national experts for their country.

Read more here about our recommendations.

Potential for green tax reform across Europe

Leaders and laggards ...


Green tax shift is a priority for new political party in Denmark

In Denmark, a new political party called Alternativet (the Alternative) has made combatting climate change and rising inequality its main priorities. It has plans to initiate a transition to a more sustainable and equitable economy – and green taxation is central to their agenda. 

Read more.

Denmark has a long history of implementing green taxes including carbon taxes and water charges.

Read more… (GBE report)

András Lukács of the Clean Air Action Group reports from Hungary on a recent change in fuel tax rates, and the introduction of a new subsidy for electric cars.

Read more here.

Water charges remain contentious in Ireland as the Expert Commission’s report came out in November.

Read more here on the current scenario, and see GBE’s general opinion here.

Latest EFR developments at EU level

Aviation submission

James Nix, Director of Green Budget Europe, sent a submission on 8 December 2016 in response to the Commission’s Directorate General of Competition public consultation. The Commission is proposing to exempt airports with fewer than 3 million passengers annually from State aid rules. Green Budget Europe argues this is a wrong-headed response to acknowledged subsidy dependence on the part of these airports.


Winter Package: capacity mechanism rules must better account for carbon intensity

On 30 November, the European Commission published its Winter Package – a set of legislative proposals aimed at boosting renewable energy and security of supply. Part of the legislation seeks to shape Member State law on capacity mechanisms for energy production, and the Commission has acted firmly to prevent market distortion, and allow electricity to move across borders. However, it still needs to do much more to cut the carbon intensity of capacity mechanisms.

Read more.

Ex'Tax Report. New Era. New Plan. Europe.

This new study, launched on 15 December, examines the impact of a tax shift from labour to consumption and natural resource use. These impacts were modelled in 27 EU countries, giving GDP levels of 2% higher on average in 2020, and employment levels are 2.9% higher than in a business-as-usual scenario, which would mean 6.6 million more people in employment.



EFR developments worldwide

Canadian national carbon price announced

On 9 December the Canadian government reached a deal with eight out of its ten provinces to set a national price on carbon. If implemented, it will put the country on track to hit its 2030 target, set out in 2015 in the Paris accord, of 523m tonnes of national emissions.

For more information, see:

Canada’s Prime Minister secures a deal for a national carbon price

Canada agrees on national carbon price, but tensions remain

A significant step forward for Canadian climate policy


Washington State rejects initiative for revenue-neutral carbon tax 

On 8 November Initiative 732 received 42% of the ballot, with opposition coming from some environmental groups, who wanted to see carbon taxes used to fund renewable energy and green technology, and bolster the incomes of workers and communities most affected by climate change.

For more information, see:

The left vs. a carbon tax

Opposition to Washington’s historic carbon tax initiative is coming from the unlikeliest of sources

Why Aren’t Environmentalists Supporting a Carbon Tax in Washington State?

Washington Carbon Emission Tax and Sales Tax Reduction


GBE press coverage


Interview with James Nix, Director of Green Budget Europe, on the dieselisation of Ireland’s car fleet post-C40 Mayors Summit, on RTE Radio One’s ‘The News at One’ programme, and quotes featured in an article in the Irish Times.
Articles on GBE’s publication on ‘Communicating Green Own Resources’ (see first item in Newsletter for more details) in Euractiv and Agence Europe.



Petitions GBE has supported

This petition is a rejection of CETA by European and Canadian civil society groups.

This petition calls for the regulation of fisheries subsidies as an integral part of the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Coming up / other GBE news

European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 23rd Conference 2017 – call for papers by 31 January 2017.
The GBE AGM will be held in Brussels on 16 and 17 March 2017. We look forward to welcoming many of our members here.
GBE Board Member Dr Theodoros Zachariadis, Associate Professor at the Cyprus University of Technology, has been recently appointed to the Scientific Committee of the European Environment Agency.

Last but by no means least, GBE would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Mauro Anastasio and Klaus Röhrig, both of whom are moving on this month, for their dedicated and enthusiastic contribution to advancing Green Budget Europe’s agenda over the last few years. They will be greatly missed.

Copyright © 2016 Green Budget Europe, All rights reserved.

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