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Nine EU countries joined forces on Thursday (Nov 7) to push for proposals for cleaner aviation in Europe, a highly polluting sector that they said was undertaxed.

Finance ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden urged the EU to come up with new measures to target the industry, but fell short of calling for a specific pollution tax.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark were also signatories to the pact, that was initiated by the Dutch.

According to the EU commission, if global aviation was a country, it would rank in the top 10 national emitters.

Airlines worldwide are spared hefty taxes on gasoline and other fossil fuels, just as the industry's carbon footprint is skyrocketing.

"Compared to most other means of transportation, aviation is not sufficiently priced," a statement by the coalition said.

"We call upon the European Commission to bring forward a proposal for an EU initiative on aviation pricing," it said, carefully avoiding a call for the EU executive to draw up a new tax.

The Netherlands is pushing for the measure and says it will go it alone with its own levy in 2021 if the EU executive fails to make a law.

An EU report in May said that adopting a tax would go to great lengths to cut carbon emissions without having a major impact on employment.

Germany has also stated its willingness to target the aviation industry with a special tax.

Drawing up an EU-wide tax would however be difficult, with several EU nations insistent that tax policy remains a national policy.

Tourist destination countries, such as Spain or Greece, also fear a painful hit against low cost flying.

Brussels-based climate group Transport and Environment welcomed the initiative saying: "It's deeply unfair that everybody has to pay tax to fill up their cars but airlines don't pay a single cent in fuel excise."

The EU projects that global aviation emissions next year will be around 70 percent higher than in 2005.afp