The top candidates of the two largest European parties want to abolish the tax advantages for kerosene.

Airlines would have to pay for the aviation fuel currently because of international agreements, no taxes, while the train and motorists would be asked to pay, said Manfred Weber, fraction leader of the conservative European People's Party in the ARD election arena.

The injustice meant that flying was significantly cheaper than other means of transport, said Weber. "The preference of the airline business must be ended." Then the train would also have better chances in the competition. His Social Democratic rival Frans Timmermans wants to tax kerosene "unconditionally and quickly". "If it fails at the international level, we have to introduce the tax EU-wide," said the Dutchman.

For CO2 tax, however, the two candidates were divided. Weber called for "innovations" and for protecting the poorest and weakest from higher fuel and heating oil prices. Timmermans, on the other hand, persisted in his call for such a levy.

Fight for Juncker succession

Weber and Timmermans are the pan-European leaders of their respective factions in the election campaign for the EU poll on 26 May. The winner may hope for succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker as EU Commission President. In 2014, the EU states agreed on the principle that the top candidate of the most successful fraction should become President of the Commission. According to recent election polls, the EPP is likely to remain strongest in the next parliament at 24 percent. The Social Democrats would keep their vote at 20 percent.