Today’s opinion

Jonas Fröberg of SvD Näringsliv writes that EU-based politics are preventing the Swedish government from encouraging people to buy biofuel over fossil fuel. The initial plan, Fröberg says, was to introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, which would make people consider more sustainable alternatives. Therefore, the Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen) recently issued a report that suggested that energy taxation is to be increased by SEK 0.44 per liter of petrol and SEK 0.48 per liter of diesel, meaning that the increase would be approximately SEK 0.60 at gas stations. However, the FSA then complemented the report with a statement, saying that biofuel would also be taxed in such a way so as to remain as expensive as fossil fuel. This evidently undermined the government’s reason for wanting to introduce the carbon dioxide tax in the first place, and Fröberg asks what caused this to happen. The answer to this, he claims, is EU regulation. According to certain EU directives, to introduce a carbon dioxide tax is considered state-aid. In effect, this means that carbon emission taxation must never be higher than biofuel taxation. The previous Minister of Finance Anders Borg (M) succeeded in having Sweden excepted from these rules during the 2014 and 2015 periods, but even this is now being reversed. After the EU’s José Manuel Barroso announced that Sweden had broken the rules and would have to compensate for the cheaper biofuel prices by paying a fine, it was also made clear that this money would have to be acquired, by the Swedish state, directly from the Swedish companies producing biofuel. It was with this backdrop that the current government reached an agreement with the EU that, if it made sure to introduce new rules that taxed biofuel and fossil fuel equally, the Swedish biofuel companies would not have to pay the fine. Fröberg concludes that considering how important it is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, hopefully the current government will have found a way to successfully avoid the aforementioned EU regulations by the end of 2015.

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Carl is a journalist and editor working for the Mundus News and a regular contributor to the Monthly Policy Review. He has a First Class Honours degree in Philosophy from the University of Warwick and is currently pursuing an MPhil degree in Philosophy there. Carl has a strong interest in international affairs, politics, economics, finance, business and philosophy pertaining to all of these areas. As an MPhil student at Warwick he has secured two Departmental Scholarships, intended to promote research into topics related to Philosophy of Psychology and Philosophy of Language. During his undergraduate years, Carl also served as the Vice-President of the Warwick Philosophy Society.