Brexit: Barnier says things will be 'more difficult' for UK
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The firms claimed the EU’s new “fit for 55” proposals for reducing carbon emissions to net zero will offer competitors outside of the bloc a huge advantage. In a letter to the European Commission, an alliance of airlines warned the plan risks increasing “the competitive advantage of non-EU airlines and non-EU hub airports compared to their EU counterparts”. The group, including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM and Scandinavian Airlines, added: “This would benefit in particular airlines in Turkey, the Gulf States but also China or Russia”.
But Britain was also highlighted as a potential winner from the EU’s overzealous rules now the country is free from them after Brexit.
The letter called for a “safeguard mechanism” to avoid airlines “operating at the gates of the EU”.
It is feared London-based airlines will be able to offer cheaper fares because they are not tied to the burdensome red tape being drawn up by Brussels.
Istanbul in Turkey was highlighted as another non-EU travel hub that could profit from the rule changes.
The Commission’s proposals “would result in distortion of competition between EU and non-EU airlines and would encourage carbon leakage in the aviation sector, if not applied universally”, according to the letter.
The warning was sent to EU transport commissioner Adina Valean and the bloc’s climate tsar Frans Timmermans.
Fit for 55 is at the heart of the EU’s efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions, by some 55 percent by 2030.
Massive changes are planned for the bloc’s businesses and people to ensure it can hit the target.
It will change the way how people drive, insulate their homes, produce building materials such as steel and cement and how forests and land are managed.
The international aviation sector is expected to be hit hardest by the changes, with it being in the bloc’s most polluting industries.
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In 2019 alone, the sector contributed 133 million tons of carbon emissions, according to European Environment Agency data.
Transport accounts for about a quarter of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it target number one for eurocrats.
The Commission estimates that emissions will need to fall by some 90 percent by 2050.
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Fit for 55 includes measures to boost the use of sustainable fuels in aviation – which is expected to drive up the price of flights.
The so-called Emissions Trading System will set the price of fees slapped on polluting companies.
After years of low prices, the reforms have driven up prices to more than £43 per ton of emitted carbon.
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