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Germany Caves In, Urges EU To Compromise Over Carbon Tax

The German government urged the European Commission on Friday to negotiate with countries opposed to the EU’s airlines carbon emissions fee to “de-escalate” opposition and avoid trade disputes. Germany’s economics ministry “is viewing the international development at the moment with the EU emissions trade with concern”, spokeswoman Tanja Kraus told reporters, adding international trade conflicts should be avoided.

Without referring to any specific cases, she told a regular news conference here that the economics ministry “expects the EU Commission to now quickly hold negotiations with the states involved”.

“The goal of these negotiations must be a clear de-escalation of the situation,” she added.

According to a report on Thursday, Hong Kong Airlines may cancel an order for 10 Airbus superjumbo A380 jets after after Beijing banned its airlines from complying with the EU scheme, imposed from January 1.

China is among more than two dozen countries including India, Russia and the United States that are opposed to the EU scheme, which is imposed on airlines taking off or landing in Europe.

The EU has said the carbon tax will help the 27-nation EU bloc achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and that it will not back down, despite claims the charge violates international law.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard has called on countries fighting the fee to propose concrete action to fight climate change.

AFP, 2 March 2012