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Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, spoke to members of the public at the Oulu Market Square on 22 August 2018. (Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)
Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, spoke to members of the public at the Oulu Market Square on 22 August 2018. (Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)

 

Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, has expressed his cautious support for adopting an aviation tax in Finland.

Sweden in April implemented an aviation tax that effectively imposes an additional charge of 6–40 euros on air passengers depending on their destination in an attempt to reduce the impact of air travel on climate and the environment.

The Finnish Green League demanded last week that a similar tax be introduced in Finland.

“It deserves some serious consideration,” Orpo told Talouselämä on Friday. “It’d be best if we found a common solution at the EU level.”

He estimated that the next tax policy priority should be to reduce the income taxation of middle-income earners, as the tax treatment of low-income earners is already lenient in comparison to other Nordics. The progression of income tax rates, he highlighted, is steep already for individuals earning 3,000 euros a month.

“We must urgently tax environmental detriments, such as fossil fuels,” he added to the business-oriented weekly.

Finnish political parties convened last week for the summer meetings of their parliamentary groups, the agendas of which indicate that climate and the environment are likely to be among the major talking points in the run-up to the parliamentary elections held in April 2019. For example, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) said Finland should become a global power in the fight against climate change.

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Both the Centre and Social Democrats commented on the aviation tax to Uusi Suomi on Friday.

“The Social Democrats is calling for a value-added tax for sustainable development that – contrary to narrow individual taxes [such as] the aviation, plastic or sugar taxes – takes into account the environmental impact of all activity,” responded Timo Harakka (SDP).

“The effects of an aviation tax must be examined thoroughly,” he added. “Let’s first at least examine the effects carefully.”

Antti Kaikkonen, the chairperson of the Centre Parliamentary Group, was similarly reluctant to express his support for the aviation tax.

“It’s important to have good flight connections both within Finland and out of Finland,” he reminded. “Flying is expensive as it is, and there is no need to raise the price significantly. It’s also important that we continue to strengthen Helsinki’s position as a key hub for international air traffic. The new tax could be counter-intuitive in this regard.”

“We doubt that an aviation tax is needed at this point in time, but it is good to monitor the experiences in Sweden. You also shouldn’t downplay the climate effects of air traffic,” added Kaikkonen.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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