Threats fly between Washington and Brussels

Published on 20 December 2011 at 14:28

As January 1, 2012 approaches, a date from which the EU intends to bring airlines into the CO2 emissions trading markets, the quarrel between Europe and the United States is “degenerating,” reports the Financial Times Deutschland. According to the German economic daily, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Raymond LaHood “sent a joint letter to senior leaders of the European Commission last week in which they decisively reject the EU’s plans” and threaten the EU with retaliation “if it does not reconsider those plans.”

A threat and a sharp choice of words that the FTD describes as “remarkable.” The fact that the Secretary of State “is talking about a transportation issue shows how politicised this particular dispute has become,” the newspaper writes. Europe decided in 2008 that the directive on greenhouse gas emission allowance trading would include airlines, and in order not to disadvantage European airlines, it has called for all flights to or from Europe to be included in the directive – that is, flights by non-European companies as well as routes outside European airspace.

China has already warned that billions in contracts with the Franco-German aircraft maker Airbus may fall through, while Russia and India are threatening to curtail or cancel overflights by European airlines. Like the other countries, the United States sees the EU plan as an affront to the sovereignty of their own airspace.

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