NFollowing the FDP’s “no”, the planned ban on combustion engines by 2035 may now be repealed at the European level. Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke from the Greens has confirmed that the alliance has agreed to ratification. However, so far, the FDP has not softened. This created a new momentum at the EU level as well. Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal and Slovakia, in a joint paper presented on Thursday, are now calling for an end to 2040. The paper is available to FAZ.
By 2035, the CO2 emissions of new cars will be “only” reduced by 90 percent. Car companies still have to convert a large portion of their fleet to electric vehicles, but they can at least sell some combustion engines or hybrid vehicles. In addition, all five countries demand that synthetic fuels or e-fuels be considered to achieve the goals. The European Parliament discussed both proposals, but rejected them the week after Pentecost.
Progress is coming at a crucial time. Next Tuesday, the French EU Council of Ministers wants to reach an agreement on the bulk of the Commission’s “Fit for 55” package from last July at a meeting of environmental ministers. The package aims to reduce the EU’s CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The ban on combustion engines for new cars is intended to contribute to this. The ambassadors of the European Union countries will deal with this by noon on Friday.
Germany jumps on the scales
The five people who signed the paper in the Council of Ministers alone do not have a sufficient blocking minority to stop the end of combustion engines by 2035. The rejection of Hungary’s ban will not change anything expected. This is where the federal government operates. If they are unable to agree on a common position due to resistance from the FDP and then abstain, this will result in a dissenting vote. The EU would have to accept 65 per cent of the population, as the recommendation of the EU Commission would have failed, as it would have missed the target required by a qualified majority.
The French presidency should now try to reach a compromise. According to diplomats, Spain and Poland have so far supported the EU Commission’s original proposal to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars by 100 percent by 2035. According to Brussels, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Sweden have all spoken out in favor of 2030. It is also conceivable that those who oppose the phasing out of combustion engines will be forced to accept concessions to other rules in the climate package. In total, the package includes a dozen rules.
However, when the cabinet decides next Tuesday, the legislative process will not be completed anyway. Then the ministers and the European Parliament must agree on a common position. Even if the EU countries agree to ease or postpone the ban on combustion engines by 2035, Parliament will still be able to overcome it.
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