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All airlines operating in the EU should be treated equally, and their contribution to the EU carbon market should not end up in ministers’ pockets but help climate efforts, said MEPs during talks with the Council and Commission on Tuesday.

During the talks with the Greek Presidency of the Council and the Commission, MEPs presented proposals for a possible deal on the inclusion of the aviation sector in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The current regime, which exempts all intercontinental flights from the ETS, is due to expire in April.

“The Council insists very strongly to extend the full « stop the clock » derogation to 2016. So we made a proposal: this could be OK for us, but only as part of a package which includes that future ETS revenues are earmarked for climate action. We think that earmarking could solve the current crisis of confidence with third countries regarding the ETS”, said rapporteur Peter Liese (EPP, DE).

“This is a highly political point. At the moment, ETS revenues disappear into the pockets of EU ministers, whereas they are supposed to help tackle climate change. This money could instead be allocated, for instance, to the green climate fund and for research and development in the area. This would show our partners, ahead of the Paris negotiations to take place in 2015, that the EU takes the issue seriously” said Environment Committee chair Matthias Groote (S&D, DE).

Full scope after 2016

Messrs Liese and Groote also say the ETS legislation should apply in full, without exemptions, after 2016. "The Parliament’s delegation has made a big move in giving up our position on airspace until 2016. The ball is now in the field of the Council. If the Council rejects our offer, it risks a complete collapse of the negotiation and will have to face the consequences," they concluded.


The ICAO agreed at its 38th assembly to adopt a global market-based measure (MBM) in 2016, to be implemented by 2020. In response, and in order to further promote the global MBM momentum, the European Commission proposed to reduce the proportion of emissions (from flights to and from countries outside the EU) to which the EU ETS applies for the period up to 2020, when the global MBM begins.

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