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Mobility minister wants 0% VAT on train tickets

08:43 03/08/2023

Belgium’s mobility minister Georges Gilkinet is aiming to decrease the significant price differences between air and rail travel, notably by slashing the standard 6% VAT on train tickets to 0%.

In an interview with Sudinfo, the politician from the Ecolo party said many travellers choose the plane rather than the train, because it is much cheaper and quicker.

To help remedy this situation, the government is supporting the reintroduction of night trains – in particular to Vienna, Berlin, Barcelona and even Rome.

“That said, we need to create much more equivalent conditions between the plane and the train. The plane continues to benefit from a far too strong competitive advantage,” he said.

This is why Gilkinet is calling for a 0% VAT level on train travel: “We won’t get there overnight, but we are taking steps in this direction. -

"We must reduce the gap between the plane and the train and make the train more attractive than it is today from a price point of view."

However, simply reducing the VAT will not be enough to change a situation where in Brussels the price difference between air and rail travel is significant compared to other European cities, a recent report by Greenpeace has found.

With Gilkinet looking to change the cost gap by cutting VAT, Greenpeace EU senior climate campaigner Lorelei Limousin further highlights that as airlines pay no tax on kerosene, they "benefit from outrageous fiscal advantages".

She added: "Planes pollute far more than trains, so why are people being encouraged to fly?”

Written by Liz Newmark