German ecotax programme \"to be restructured\"
Germany\'s ruling SPD will make significant changes to the country\'s ecological tax reform programme if it regains office at this September\'s elections, the party\'s deputy chairman has indicated. Michael Müller told newspaper Berliner Morgenpost that revenues from energy taxes should in future be spent on environmental causes.
Introduced in 1999, the programme was designed specifically to shift taxation from employment-related \"goods\" to environmental \"bads\", with the aim of protecting the environment while boosting jobs. Annual rises in energy taxes in each of the last four years have been offset by cuts in pension contributions.
Rising energy taxes have sparked widespread political dissent. The main opposition parties for long demanded that the whole policy be scrapped, though more recently have limited themselves to pledging no further increases in rates. Mr Schröder has also dropped pre-electoral hints of no further tax rises (ED 13/02/01).
Mr Müller said any further development of the programme must be more closely linked to environmental and green transport goals. He stressed that there was now more scope for channelling taxes towards environmental causes since the EU\'s attitude to state aids had moved \"away from a one-sided focus on free of movement of goods towards ecological goals\" (ED 13/02/02).
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