EU Transport Ministers Fail to Find Common Ground in Fuel Tax Talks
September 21, 2000
European Union transport ministers last night failed to reach a common position on the plight of European truckers who face rising fuel prices, even after talking late into the night.
According to the Associated Press, after more than seven hours of discussion over social and environmental concerns related to transportation, transport ministers failed to coordinate their tax policies.
The 15 EU ministers gathered in Luxembourg to try to find a way to put an end to protests by truckers, farmers, and fisherman who have been voicing their anger about skyrocketing world old prices, which have reached 10-year highs.
Transport ministers criticized France for giving truckers a tax break, saying the move inspired similar anti-tax fuel protests across the continent.
France, who currently holds the EU presidency, issued a statement saying it "will continue its study of indirect fuel taxes, in line with its objectives for common policies on transport and energy."
France, Italy and the Netherlands reacted to protests in recent weeks by slashing fuel taxes, while Britain and Belgium refused to give into protesting truckers.
The protests showed signs of spreading to Canada, where 1,800 independent truckers warned they would go on strike at Friday night unless something was done to reduce fuel costs.