Jayanthi attacks European Union for charges on intl flights

New Delhi: Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan today attacked the European Union for its "unilateral" decision to levy charges on international flights and even termed the 27-nation bloc`s step as "a deal breaker" in the context of ongoing climate talks.

"For the Environment Ministry, it is a deal breaker. I don`t know what Civil Aviation Ministry is saying. For me, it is a deal breaker," the Minister told reporters when asked whether the ongoing controversy on carbon tax is a "deal breaker" for the climate change talks that lead to 2020 regime. She alleged that the EU has imposed the Emission Trading Scheme on Airlines in a "disguised" manner in the name of Climate Change.

The controversial European Union Emissions Trading Scheme requires all airlines, including Indian, using airports in EU to pay a tax for their greenhouse gas emissions. "Because you simply cannot…its not just done to bring this into the Climate Change discourse and impose this kind of disguised trade measure…unilateral trade measure in the name of Climate Change," the Minister said at a function organised by `The Energy Resources Institute (TERI)` here.

Talking tough on the issue of EU`s Emission Trading Scheme, Natarajan said, "I strongly believe that as far as climate change discussions are concerned this is unacceptable."

The Minister said that a unilateral measure is in violation of the principles and provisions of the international convention and it will also not augur well for the success of future climate change negotiations. She said that she had written a letter to European Union Commissioner for Climate Change Connie Hedegaard demanding a reversal of the carbon tax on airline emissions.