Tabloids in muddle over German petrol tax idea

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 25.01.2016

“Germany plots tax on BRITISH motorists to cover growing bill for its 1.1 million migrants”, said The Express this morning. The Sun’s take was: “Motorists could be hit with a new petrol tax to solve Europe’s migrant crisis”.

This was certainly an innovative way of reporting a hypothetical example of a policy, which the UK could veto, and which has already met with strong disapproval in Germany.

To start with, Germany has made no firm policy proposal. Its finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble floated the idea as something that could be done if there wasn’t enough money in national or European Union budgets to deal with the strains of the refugee crisis. Not only wasn’t Schaeuble making a firm proposal, there appears little chance the idea could become German government policy. The deputy leader of his own party knocked the idea saying the party was “strictly against” tax increases.

What’s more, any such tax would require a unanimous vote to gain EU approval. This means Britain could veto such a tax in the unlikely event that Germany did at some point propose it. The German finance minister even said that if some countries weren’t willing to pay, “we’ll build a coalition of the willing.” Oddly enough, neither The Express nor The Sun mentioned this comment or Britain’s veto.

This article was previously published on 18 Jan. 2016 on hugo-dixon.com

Edited by Hugo Dixon