Thursday, March 6, 2014
The long and contentious conflict over the application of the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme to foreign carriers appears to be nearing an end as Members of the European Parliament reached an agreement with negotiators from the various Member States to essentially exempt non-EU carriers from any obligation to participate in Europe's cap-and-trade program. Carriers based in EU Member States will still be required to comply. The application of Directive 101/2008 to non-EU airlines has been criticized for its extraterritorial effects since its passage six years ago. Under pressure from Member States fearful of repercussions from trade partners, the EU temporarily suspended its application to non-EU carriers last year, and the European Commission and Parliament had both recently backed a measure to restrict foreign carriers’ obligations to only those pertaining to emissions occurring in EU airspace – thereby addressing the primary legal argument opposing States had put forward. Despite the Parliament's acquiescence to their purported concerns, non-EU countries, perhaps emboldened by their success, continued to press for complete exemption for their carriers which they now appear to have won.