Adoption of the European plastic tax

Adoption of the European plastic tax

At its plenary session of 16 September 2020, Parliament adopted a resolution calling for a new system of own resources, including, inter alia, a tax on non-recycled plastic packaging from 01 January 2021.

However, a number of subjective and objective aspects of the tax have not been specified, leaving considerable uncertainty among economic stakeholders in the sector.

On 07 October 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Isabella Tovaglieri of the Identity and Democracy Group, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.

MEP Tovaglieri enquired from the Commission how are the entities required to pay the tax to be identified and what are the criteria for identifying taxable entities, adding does the Commission intend “to apply the tax to imported products?”

Finally, the Italian Member asked the Commission “how it intends to harmonise the European tax and avoid double taxation where another tax of the same kind is in force in a Member State, and whether it intends to exempt packaging that is in direct contact with food, or provide for a different tax on such packaging?”

On 26 November, Budget and Administration Commissioner Johannes Hahn responded on behalf of the European Commission.

Commissioner Hahn replied that “the plastic own resource will be proportional to the quantity of non-recycled plastic packaging waste generated in each Member State with a correction mechanism to avoid excessively regressive impact on national contributions” and “this will provide an incentive for the Member States to reduce the quantity of plastic packaging waste”.

Commissioner Hahn also clarified that “Member States will design the most suitable measures to reduce the quantity of the non-recycled plastic packaging waste” and that “they can achieve this objective through a pricing instrument (as a tax or charge) but also via regulation or promoting better recycling”.

“The proposal for an own resource based on non-recycled plastic packaging waste is not a tax, but a contribution by the Member States to the EU budget, which aims at implementing the objectives of the Plastic Strategy and supporting the EU recycling objectives” and “in full respect of subsidiarity, there is no obligation for the Member States to seek a contribution on the non-recycled plastic packaging waste from actors at the national level” concluded Commissioner Hahn.

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