In a surprise vote, the majority of the members of the European Parliament on Wednesday rejected proposals to extend the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), introduce a carbon tax and create a social climate fund.
MEPs rejected the proposal on the extension and review of the Emissions Trading System, drafted by Peter Liese of the European People’s Party, by 365 votes against, 265 in favor and 34 abstentions.
The lawmakers then agreed to return the motion, as well as the related reports on the carbon border tax and the social climate fund, to the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) for further discussion.
The surprise result of the vote aligns with the position of the Hungarian government, which has long been firmly opposed to the introduction of the tax, arguing that polluting corporations, rather than people, should bear the cost of the green transition when it comes to climate change.
After the vote, governing Fidesz MEP Edina Tóth called the rejection of the climate tax ’a big win’ for her party.
“The result of the vote clearly shows that the climate package is bleeding from several wounds and failed to win political and social support,” Tóth said in a statement, adding that it enjoyed neither political nor social support.
Brussels’ plan would make citizens and families pay for its green policies, she said, calling this “unacceptable”. Major polluters should bear the costs of greening, not ordinary people, the statement added.
The tax would also put the Hungarian cap on household utility bills in danger and stoke inflation, Tóth said.
We will continue to fight to ensure that this proposal is not adopted. We are committed to the green transition as a common goal, but not at any cost. Our position is clear: the cost of the transition should not be borne by Hungarian and European citizens, but by the big polluters. “We will continue on the path we have started, and we will prevent the EU regulation from imposing a new tax on Hungarian citizens,” MEP Edina Tóth added.
Featured photo illustration via the European Parliament’s official Twitter page