Work Package 3: Implementation Issues and Barriers


Based on an assessment of carbon taxes at EU level and in selected ‘front runner’countries, WP3 identifies barriers and success factors for the implementation of carbon taxes at the different levels of governance from a legal / political science perspective. There are two central tasks in this work package:

  1. Implementation Issues and Barriers at EU level
  2. Implementation Issues and Barriers at Member State level

Implementation Issues and Barriers at EU level

Barriers to implement carbon taxes at EU level can relate to legal or political economy aspects. These derive from the uncertainty relating to the voting procedures when proposing an environmental measure. An ordinary measure under Article 192(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) is voted upon by qualified majority. By way of derogation from this Article, Article 192(2) TFEU requires unanimity in the Council to adopt (inter alia) 'provisions primarily of a fiscal nature'. Cases clarifying this concept and the meaning of 'primarily' and 'fiscal nature' are rare. The debate on how to interpret these Articles is often strongly grounded in the traditions of a particular Member State jurisdiction.

Implementation Issues and Barriers at Member State level

Important success determinants at Member State level are related to the political economy of introducing taxes (negotiations with stakeholders, concessions, changes in proposed legislation, compromises, revenue raising etc.) which translate inter alia into competitiveness issues and fairness / equity / distribution issues. For these the design of the carbon tax exemptions, and safeguards to prevent progressivity and the use of tax proceeds are important determinants. From a legal perspective the division of competences between the various institutions and actors can determine the legal form of the tax measure and its scope.

Last update: 6 April 2016