CEPRiE - Carbon and Energy Pricing Reform in Europe





At the height of a severe economic and fiscal crisis for the majority of EU Member States, the primary motives and forces acting upon the decision makers will be achieving fiscal consolidation whilst not endangering growth and employment. Furthermore, they will have to work hard to comply with EU Treaties, which are creating momentum for increased policy coordination and cooperation between Member States as part of the convergence process of the European Semester and the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance.

This process of harmonisation may provide opportunities for greening fiscal policy as a long-term solution which respects environmental and social imperatives. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop and present specific policy proposals for a sustainable recovery. The solution: Carbon-energy pricing to bring about significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a shift towards sustainable fiscal consolidation within a low-carbon economy.

As a follow-up of the CETRiE project (Carbon Energy and Tax Reform in Europe), this project will build on the foundations laid during the first phase – in terms of contacts to high-level decision-makers within finance ministries, national partners and broad networks of contacts in target countries and international institutions – to bring about real and substantial reform in carbon-energy taxation in selected EU Member States and at EU level.


The overarching aim of the project is to influence fiscal policy and anticipate various ongoing policy reforms being developed in response to the crisis. This will be achieved at both Member State and European Union level by supplying key decision makers with robust and well-targeted research demonstrating how carbon-energy pricing can play an important role in raising revenues to meet budget deficits while also bringing about GHG emissions reductions.

CEPRiE pursues a multi-level approach to maximise project impact. Work at national level can serve as a catalyst for new approaches while there are several strong opportunities at EU level to create increased momentum for fiscal reform.

• In close co-operation with expert partners, GBE will identify, propose and refine policy proposals in consultation with state governments and national partners and model their potential macroeconomic impacts, addressing additional policy needs expressed by Finance Ministries and others, e.g. on specific causes of resistance to taxation;
• GBE will anticipate relevant legislation and align activities to influence political decisions using the intelligence gathered during the first phase on opportunities and barriers to reform;
• We will build strong partnerships with key decision-makers to develop and press for the implementation of detailed elements of carbon-energy pricing reforms in the target countries France and Spain, and other EU countries when specific windows of opportunity arise;
• In close cooperation with leading national Environmental Fiscal Reform (EFR) experts, we will foster public policy debates on carbon pricing in target EU member states.

The embedding of the Europe 2020 strategy  and its ambitious sustainability, energy and social targets at the core of the European Semester was supposed to improve political ownership and delivery. However, a closer look reveals that the European Semester creates tensions between the stability rationale prevailing in the Eurozone and the Europe 2020’s objectives for a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The European Semester has so far prioritised fiscal adjustment, mainly by supporting the austerity agenda. In addition, the overall consequences of fiscal consolidation and structural reforms tend to be overlooked.

Supplying the EU-Commission with high-quality information on possible national EFR measures constitutes a real window of opportunity to influence national policy. Given that the European Parliament does not have an active role in the European Semester, in terms of shared decision-making, it is crucial that political groups are involved and made aware of how the Country-Specific Recommendations are, or are not, being implemented in the Member States. European elections will take place in 2014 and future candidates will undoubtedly be questioned and challenged on all issues relating to austerity measures and the role of the EU in managing the crisis for better and smarter spending.

• CEPRiE will develop and propose specific fiscal policy proposals for inclusion in Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) developed during the European Semester process.
• They will be presented to key players in the European Commission and the European Parliament and shall serve as an important tool for national partners to lobby their government on EFR.
• An important additional added value will be the provision of marginal tax curves for specified target countries and the development of policy proposals for the majority of EU Member States, based on information from existing GBE networks and intelligence gathering during the project.


"Environmental Fiscal Reform in Spain: The sustainable recovery." (in Spanish) (2015)

"Toolkit for engaging with Europe 2020 and the European Semester 2014-2015" (2014)

"Environmental Fiscal Reform: Windows of opportunity." Published in the International Tax Review. (2014)
   "Diesel and Pollutions: What are the Solutions?" (in French) and an accompanying video (2014)
  "A Review of Spain's Energy Taxes." (in Spanish) (2014)
"The Importance of Including Environmental Issues in Fiscal reforms." (in Spanish) (2014)
"Environmental Fiscal Reform, Growth, and Employment in the Context of the Spanish Debate on Tax Reform." (in Spanish) (2014)
"Understanding Environmental Fiscal Reform." (in French) (2014)



And in collaboration with: