Green taxes: "Belgium back of the class"

Belgium has the lowest share of taxes generated in the form of green taxes figures from the European statistics office Eurostat have revealed. Only 4.7% of Belgian taxation is raised as a result of green taxes. For the EU as a whole the figure is 6.3%, while for a country like the UK that is leaving the EU green taxes make up 7.4% of the country's tax revenue.

Croatia, Slovenia and Greece are the EU states that generate the highest level of taxation through green taxes: around 10%.

Economist Ivan Van de Cloot clarified the picture in the daily De Standaard: "Tax levels are extremely high in Belgium: on labour, capital and real estate. Environmental taxes are the exception despite the fact that according to economic theory green levies are a very efficient form of taxation because you arrest pollution. A greening of the tax system is better for the functioning of the economy."

The Eurostat figures date from 2015 before the Belgian government introduced several tax reforms increasing the amount of taxation raised through green taxes. Duty on DERV was increased among other measures.

Mathias Bienstman of the environmental organisation BBL told De Standard it was quite likely Belgium no longer featured at the bottom of the list today, though he insisted there was still scope for greater green taxation. The BBL backs higher taxes on natural gas and heating fuel, lower taxes on electricity, greater road charging for transport firms and taxes on products that are not durable.

Economist Ivan Van de Cloot: "Higher duty on DERV hardly impacts on our behaviour. The political debate rarely centres on the impact on behaviour. In Belgium tax policy is usually a form of gift policy."