Berlin The head of the CSU political party, Markus Söder wants to significantly reduce the value added tax on train travel as a boost for climate protection. This would make train tickets cheaper and short-haul flights unattractive.
CSU leader Markus Söder has called on the coalition parties in Berlin to levy a reduced rate or no VAT at all on train tickets in the future (the CSU party is the Bavarian chapter of the main CDU party, to which Chancellor Merkel belongs). "Railway tickets should be exempt from value added tax as far as possible, at present there is not even a reduced VAT rate," Söder told the newspaper "Welt am Sonntag". Rail travel must become so attractive by means of a tax reduction that travelers no longer want to use air travel for short distances.
While the SPD party signaled approval, the response within the CDU was ambivalent: CDU environmental politicians supported Söder, CDU economic politicians opposed the initiative. The Climate Cabinet of the federal government is to decide on a comprehensive package of measures on September 20 that will ensure that Germany can reach its climate target in 2030. By then, greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 55 percent compared to 1990 levels. So far the German climate performance looks bad compared to other European countries. The climate target for 2020 has already been missed.
"I am against a hasty introduction of individual sales tax privileges, when it is questionable whether they would be passed on to customers at all," said Carsten Linnemann, deputy leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, to our editorial team. "If there were real competition by rail, the offers would be better and much cheaper. He called for a fundamental debate on making improvements when it comes to some unacceptable conditions at German Rail while at the same time adding more climate protection.
Support for Söder, on the other hand, came from CDU environmental spokeswoman Marie-Luise Dött. "I could also envision a VAT reduction on train tickets," Dött said. The measure would have to be discussed in the Climate Cabinet.
(Orig. text: Birgit Marschall; Translation: ck)