The European Union (E.U.) is set to make a multi-million euro increase on funding private jet “taxis” for its officials, while also claiming to be a “global climate leader” demanding carbon emission cuts by 50 percent, if not 55 percent, by 2030.
Although the organization is still two years away from the current “air taxi” contract ending, it has decided to raise the amount that can be spent by officials to €10.71 million, a 50 percent increase on the starting amount, Politco reports.
The spending splurge comes despite new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledging to raise the E.U.’s 2030 emissions reduction target and set a 2050 climate neutrality goal.
In order to reach the 2050 target, von der Leyen urged cutting carbon emissions across Europe by 50 percent, if not 55 percent, by 2030.
“I want Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050,” von der Leyen told the E.U. parliament in July, eliciting strong applause.
Von der Leyen told MEPs that, as part of a “Green Deal for Europe” in her first 100 days in office, she would push to enshrine the 2050 target in law with heavy penalties for member states that fail to hit their E.U. targets as directed by Brussels.
Whether or not private jet use by the E.U. is affected – if at all – remains to be seen.
The bloc’s original contract for private air travel said it was for the “provision of air-taxi transport services (chartered jet aeroplanes) for use by the President or other members of the European Commission, for the European Parliament Presidency, for the President of the European Council, for the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and any accompanying persons, mostly in the European Union,” according to Politco.
This was for approximately 871 flight hours to destinations including Berlin, Stuttgart and Strasbourg.
But this was changed when a new notice said “analysis of expenditure during the period already elapsed has led to the conclusion that this threshold will not suffice to cover the needs of the European institutions until the expiry date of the contract i.e. 30.4.2021” .
However a commission spokesperson told Politico: “This does not mean that the total amount under the contract will be spent.
“The amended contract just provides a guarantee that the threshold will be sufficient to cover the needs of the E.U. institutions for the remaining period of the contract.”
Despite the E.U. drive for compliance with its harsh climate directives, there appears to be little resonance with citizens of member states.
The European Commission’s Eurobarometer survey, a twice-annually inquiry into the opinions of over 27,000 Europeans, asked people in 33 countries last month what their main concerns were for the European Union, and found worries over immigration to be the clear winner.
Breitbart News reported some 34 percent of Europeans surveyed said immigration was their top concern in 2019, putting the issue comfortably ahead of climate concerns that came in at just 22 percent of respondents’ worries.