Germany aims to swerve European Parliament in car engine deal

Germany aims to swerve European Parliament in car engine deal
Опубликовано: Friday, 17 March 2023 11:22

Berlin and Brussels are in talks over a deal to water down all-but-agreed transport legislation.

The German government wants to avoid having to seek approval from the European Parliament or EU ministers for last-minute additions to car emissions legislation targeted at saving the combustion engine, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO.

Berlin has staged a late intervention calling on the European Commission to make room for e-fuels in legislation that would otherwise mandate a zero emissions-only sales policy for new cars and vans from 2035.

The car emissions legislation was agreed in negotiations between EU countries and the Parliament last year, and was set to go into law pending final approval from member country ministers at a vote earlier this month; the rubber-stamp process was delayed as a result of the stand-off with Germany and its pro-engine allies.

In a letter to the Commission dated March 15, Germany suggests resolving the blockade by carving out an approval process for vehicles running solely on e-fuels in standing Euro 6 pollutant rules. It adds that this should be done "without delay."

"If you do not consider this legal basis to be usable, we are open to a counter-proposal," the letter, penned by Germany’s transport ministry, states. "But this would also have to be a completed legal act that does not trigger any renewed approval requirements (European Parliament, EU Council)."

The German government also wants to add a form of credit system for e-fuels to the pending car emissions legislation, but that would require introducing secondary legislation known as a delegated act and could require Parliament approval as it would expand the remit of the car CO2 legislation currently awaiting sign-off.

As POLITICO reported Thursday, the Parliament is insistent that the deal on a 2035 clean car mandate agreed last year should stand. Lawmakers voted down plans to introduce a framework for using e-fuels twice during negotiations last year.

Germany’s intervention has drawn the ire of France and other green-minded countries that are in favor of sticking to the green vehicle sales legislation.

While Berlin has the support of Italy, Poland and Bulgaria in its efforts to change the text, together they only carry enough weight to block the approval process and not to change the text.

The Commission is hoping to broker a deal with Germany aimed at ending the dispute and getting the legislation, a critical part of its climate agenda, through into law. Both sides say negotiations are ongoing.

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