MEP Jaak Madison turns to justice chancellor on EU plastic tax

MEP Jaak Madison.
MEP Jaak Madison. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

MEP Jaak Madison (EKRE) is taking his concerns over the European Union's plastic tax to Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise. Madison has previously called the overall European Union long-term budget "horrible", and is also looking for options in taking the case to the Supreme Court.

Madison announced on Thursday: "The implementation of a plastic tax was agreed upon across the union, something which has never happened in the EU before. This will certainly not be the last tax that will be agreed upon, and is just the opening salvo. Such a step means that Estonia will have to pay more than €30 million towards the EU budget already starting next year, and only because the EU is moving towards a political, fiscal federation."

PM Jüri Ratas (Center) and Madison's party leader Martin Helme (EKRE) has repeatedly said that no common taxes were agreed upon at the latest Council meeting.

According to the Prime Minister, the European Commission has proposed a formula for how much plastic is calculated and Estonia has agreed to the directive. Ratas added: "I do not believe this principle is wrong – the goal is to have less unrecycled plastic. But we realized that there will be no new taxes across Europe." 

Ratas added the main component in calculating national contributions is Gross National Income (GNI). This formula is supplemented by the factor of unrecycled plastic, where the state has to pay an additional 80 cents to the budget for every kilogram of unused plastic.  

Madison commented: "It is embarassing that the prime minister mentioned after the European Council that no common taxes were set. The afromentioned plastic tax was indeed established, it will be hidden in every member states' general tax policy.

"What will be the consequences? Firstly, food will become more expensive as plastic is one of the most common means of packaging. Food and drinks prices in Estonia are already of the highest in all of Europe and the Estonian consumer will end up paying extra for the tax. Secondly, this paves the way for future common taxes."

Madison says he will approach Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, so she can assess the EU's plans in the light of the Estonian constitution. "Since we have a Supreme Court decision from 2012 that clearly states that excessive federalization would have to lead to an update of the public mandate. Establishing the first pan-Union common tax sets a precedent in EU financial politics that is the first step of the coming federation."

He also said he will look for a way to turn to the Supreme Court of Estonia if the Riigikogu were to green-light the budget plan. He will also organize a petition when the EU long-term budget plan comes to a vote in the fall.

At the Council meeting, the national leaders agreed the EU's budget for the next seven years would be €1,074 trillion. In addition, a €750 billion economic recovery fund will be created. Of this, €390 billion will be given out as grants and €360 million in the form of loan aid. 

Furthermore, according to the European Council's initial draft, 1 kg of unhandled plastic would be taxed at cost €0.8. Based on primary data, Estonia would have to pay close to €16 million in taxes on plastic each year.

Head of Riigikogu constitutional committee not convinced

Paul Puustusmaa (EKRE), head of the Riigikogu's constitutional committee, commented on Madison's statement, saying he is not convinced the 2012 Supreme Court decision or the Chancellor of Justice could help in this situation.

Puustusmaa said: "Firstly because the court decision refers to a situation where amendments are made to EU treaties - that would need a more serious decision from the state itself, maybe even a referendum. It is also suspicious if it would be of sincere interest to our current Chancellor of Justice, to protect Estonia's decision-making power. Any official with the Chancellor of Justice can create a round and empty response."

He added: "There could be a contradiction with section 121 of the Constitution but we can not say that for certain yet."

Section 121 of the Constitution says the Riigikogu ratifies and denounces treaties of the Republic of Estonia which modify the state border; whose implementation requires the passage, amendment or repeal of Estonian laws; by which the Republic of Estonia joins an international organisation or union; by which the Republic of Estonia assumes military or financial obligations; which require ratification.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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