The German government is pushing ahead with a package of measures for more climate protection.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet was due to vote on essential parts of the plan so that parliamentary proceedings can begin next week.
After that, the coalition wants to introduce corresponding bills into the Bundestag. According to DPA, a shortened parliamentary procedure is planned so that it is possible to complete the process by December 20th.
The German government wants to ensure the country still achieves its climate targets for 2030. However, activists have said the measures don’t go far enough.
The following measures were due to be decided Wednesday:
TRAIN TICKETS: Train tickets should become cheaper so that more people are encouraged to switch from cars to the rail network. VAT on long-distance tickets is to be reduced from 19 to seven percent, making tickets around 10% cheaper. The state will lose around €500 million due to the lower tax rate.
If all goes to plan, this will be introduced from January 1st, 2020.
PLANE TICKETS: In order to compensate for the reduced income of the changes to rail tax, the federal government wants to demand higher taxes on airline tickets, with passengers who regularly take short-haul flights facing a bigger hit.
- Why you will soon pay more for short-haul flights in Germany
- S-Bahn, trains and buses: Germany to inject an extra €1.2 billion in public transport
According to the latest draft by the Finance Ministry, the air traffic tax for domestic and EU flights is to be raised by around 76 percent, and for longer flights by around 43 percent. The Ministry expects this to increase revenue by €740 million per year.
The tax for flights in Europe is to rise by €5.65 to €13.03 per ticket departing from a German airport. For routes up to 6000 kilometers, an increase of €9.96 to €33.01 is planned. For further long-haul routes, €59.43 will be due in the future, almost €18 more than before.
The changes are planned to come into force on April 1st 2020 to give airlines enough time to adjust pricing, so it gives air passengers a temporary reprieve before tickets become more expensive.
CO2 PRICE: The law on this is still to be finalized but the Cabinet wants to at least decide on the key points for the planned CO2 price. It is intended to make climate-damaging fuels from oil, natural gas and later coal more expensive – and aims to provide an incentive for the development and purchase of climate-friendly cars and heating systems.
COMMUTER ALLOWANCE: Germany’s commuter allowance (Pendlerpauschale) is intended to enable employers with a long way to go to work to reduce their personal tax burden. To calculate the allowance, the commuter needs to know the length of the route and the number of working days on which the route is driven.
In order to compensate for the more expensive fuel, the commuter allowance for long distances is to rise for five years. From the 21st kilometre onwards there will be 35 cents per kilometre instead of 30. This amount can be deducted from taxable income per working day.
BUILDING RESTORATION/REFURBISHMENT: Those who take measures to insulate the walls or roof in their apartment or house, or renew windows, doors or heating, should receive tax relief for three years.
To qualify, the property must be older than 10 years. According to DPA information, the subsidy is to be deducted from taxes up to a total of €200,000 and will come in the form of a tax reduction of up to 20 percent.