20 March, 2022 Countries in the EU back the bloc's decision to impose a world-first carbon dioxide emissions tariff on imports of polluting goods.
The EU wants to introduce CO2 emissions costs on imports of steel, cement, fertilisers, aluminium and electricity, from 2026. This is a move aimed at protecting European industry from being undercut by cheaper goods made in countries with weaker environmental rules.
A three-year transition phase for the levy would begin in 2023, so EU countries and the European parliament are racing to approve the rules this year. "It's a major step forward in the fight against climate change," French finance minister Bruno Le Maire said.
The CO2 emissions tariff is part of a wider green plan
The levy is part of a package of EU climate change policies designed to cut the bloc's emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 from 1990 levels. That goal will require huge investments from industry in green technologies like hydrogen and impose higher CO2 costs on polluters. The border levy aims to create a "level playing field" by imposing the same CO2 costs on EU companies and those abroad.
France, which currently chairs meetings of EU ministers, has long supported the levy and prioritised a swift deal on it. European parliament plans to confirm its position by July, meaning negotiations between parliament and EU countries on the final rules could begin after summer.