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U.S. Steel Košice threatens legal action over Slovakia’s emissions tax

The Košice-based U.S. Steel company is threatening to take legal action against Slovakia regarding the so-called emissions tax which took effect on January 1, with the company sending a letter to government bodies which mentions the potential of opening arbitration, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote on January 4.

The Košice-based U.S. Steel company is threatening to take legal action against Slovakia regarding the so-called emissions tax which took effect on January 1, with the company sending a letter to government bodies which mentions the potential of opening arbitration, the Hospodárske Noviny daily wrote on January 4.

The Finance Ministry confirmed this to the daily. “The ministry is evaluating the contents of the letter and later it will consider possible further steps,” said ministry spokesman Martin Jaroš. In the letter U.S. Steel requested abolishment of the tax.

Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš pushed through the tax on companies’ carbon dioxide emissions and it took effect on January 1, 2011. The SITA newswire wrote that the finance minister disapproved of the previous government granting producers of emissions more quotas than they required and if they were not used the excess could be traded by the companies at a profit.

The emissions tax has been contested by several other companies as well with both the European Commission and Slovakia's Constitutional Court dealing with motions, SITA wrote. Klub 500, which clusters businesses with more than 500 employees, has urged Mikloš to scrap the tax, claiming that the introduction of the emissions tax is at odds with principles of the rule of law and European directives in several respects.

"We are disappointed that instead of systemic steps, the [Finance] ministry reached for the principle of collective guilt and has directly harmed all subjects by introducing the 80-percent tax rate", Klub 500 executive director Tibor Gregor stated, as quoted by SITA.

The PPC Power company has so far been unsuccessful in its suit against the emission tax which it filed with the Constitutional Court, the Sme daily wrote on January 5. Some members of parliament have also filed a motion asking the Constitutional Court to decide whether the tax is constitutional.

Source: Hospodárske Noviny, SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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