Impact of Environmental Taxes on Sustainable Energy Development in Baltic States, Czech Republic and Slovakia

By Streimikiene, Dalia | E+M Ekonomie a Management, October 2015 | Go to article overview

Impact of Environmental Taxes on Sustainable Energy Development in Baltic States, Czech Republic and Slovakia


Streimikiene, Dalia, E+M Ekonomie a Management


Introduction

Economic stabilization policies can be implemented with the aid of either monetary or fiscal policy. A forward-looking, medium-term oriented monetary policy provides the best framework to this purpose. Fiscal policies too should have a medium to long-term orientation and largely rely on automatic stabilizers in the short-term. Fiscal policy can promote macroeconomic stability by sustaining aggregate demand and private sector incomes during an economic downturn and by moderating economic activity during periods of strong growth. An important stabilizing function of fiscal policy operates through the so-called "automatic fiscal stabilizers". These work through the impact of economic fluctuations on the government budget and do not require any short-term decisions by policy makers. The size of tax collections and transfer payments, for example, are directly linked to the cyclical position of the economy and adjust in a way that helps stabilizing aggregate demand and private sector incomes. Automatic stabilizers have a number of desirable features. First, they respond in a timely and foreseeable manner. This helps economic agents to form correct expectations and enhances their confidence. Second, they react with an intensity that is adapted to the size of the deviation of economic conditions from what was expected when budget plans were approved. Third, automatic stabilizers operate symmetrically over the economic cycle, moderating overheating in periods of booms and supporting economic activity during economic downturns without affecting the underlying soundness of budgetary positions, as long as fluctuations remain balanced [17].

In principle, stabilization can result from discretionary fiscal policy-making, whereby governments actively decide to adjust spending or taxes in response to changes in economic activity. The main fiscal and pricing policies aiming at implementation of sustainable energy development are related with promotion of sustainable energy which is the major source of environmental problems in EU [12]. The European Semester was established in 2010 as a mechanism to better coordinate economic policies in European Union countries. It was one of the EU's responses to the financial and economic crisis, which has resulted in economic contraction and rising unemployment in many EU countries. The European Semester is based on the idea that, because EU economies are highly integrated, enhanced policy coordination can help boost economic development in the EU generally. 'Greening the European Semester' is aimed to ensure that macroeconomic policies of EU member states are sustainable, not only economically and socially, but also environmentally. Environmental policies can contribute to sustainable economic recovery and jobs growth in many ways. Resource efficiency is clearly such a contribution, but there are many more themes, such as environmental fiscal reform, including tax shifts from labour to environmental pollution. European Commission prepares each year Country Specific Recommendations, and the Member States update their National Reform Programmes annually based on these recommendations. The main priorities identified by EC to be addressed by EU member states in their National Reform Programmes are the following:

* Taxation system should be designed to be more growth-friendly, by shifting the tax burden away from labor to taxes linked to consumption and combating pollution;

* Increase of resource efficiency and reduction of EU energy dependency;

* Promotion of resource efficiency by energy efficiency and recycling.

The aim of this paper is to review fiscal and pricing policies aiming at promotion of sustainable energy development in some new EU member states and to carry out comparative assessment of environmental taxes targeting sustainable energy development and achieved sustainable energy development targets in selected new EU member states. …

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