The research project will focus on the intersection between energy taxation, environmental protection goals and EU State aid law. We pursue to develop and enrich the current research on environmentally-driven energy taxation with the EU State aid perspective, analyzing the state of the art on tax incentives.
The project aims to clarify the role of tax benefits on the energy sector and the design and application of the limits imposed by European and international legal systems to the tax authorities. To that purpose, academic research and dialogue may help to explore what kind of State measures will be understood as constituting “environmental taxes” or “energy taxes” in the specific context of the EU State aid law and whether the understanding of the terms is shared from a tax law perspective, or whether different definitions still apply and need to be approached. This is particularly important because if an “energy tax” is considered “environmental” it falls within the scope of Article 44 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (Regulation (EC) No.2204/2002). Consequently, an energy tax measure can be considered compatible with the internal market or it can be subject to an assessment under the Guidelines for Environmental Protection and Energy 2014-2020. In these Guidelines, particular criteria apply for “environmental taxes”, and a different solution is provided if tax measures are levied as the result of an autonomous national decision or as the result of an EU directive. A specific reference is made on the Guidelines to the relevance of the tax harmonisation thought the Energy Taxation Directive.
The project also wants to identify the most suitable mechanisms to reconcile competitiveness, environmental protection and the need of tax resources from the point of view of the effectiveness of the measures through this EU State aid analysis.
Finally, the project will promote the necessary discussion to assess the need to change the conceptual schema so that it better serve the objectives of effectiveness and legal certainty. Opening taxation issues to other researchers or specialist coming from other legal backgrounds, as exerts on environment, EU or competition law may certainly improve current patterns.