German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has voiced his support for liberal Transport Minister Volker Wissing’s threat to block the final vote on the EU’s de facto ban on new petrol or diesel cars as of 2035.
On 28 February, Wissing (FDP/Renew Europe) said Germany was in no position to vote in favour of an EU-interinstitutional agreement that de facto bans the sale of new combustion engine vehicles as of 2035 by reducing allowed tailpipe emissions to zero unless the Commission gives a “binding answer” on the e-fuels question.
“We are in agreement on this issue,” Scholz (SPD/S&D) told journalists about Wissing’s threat to thwart the vote during the annual retreat of the German government.
While the agreement also includes a non-binding recital clause which asks the Commission to make a new proposal on how combustion engine vehicles which run exclusively on climate-neutral synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, can be registered even after 2035; the Commission has so far shown little interest in doing so.
“What we are currently discussing with the European Commission is not about the concrete content of the regulation that has been found,” Scholz said, adding that it was only about “how something that we all agree on in the government and also with the Commission, can be realised”.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was invited to participate in the German government’s annual retreat at castle Meseberg to discuss economic policy, remained vague on the issue.
When asked by journalists about the combustion engine dispute, she said this was “briefly discussed” with the German ministers, adding that “we are in a constructive dialogue there”.
“I want to make it very clear once again: We fully support the principle of technological openness. That is important, but it must always be balanced with our climate policy goals, which we have all agreed on,” she said.
When asked about a timeline to solve the issue, von der Leyen said, “as always with negotiations, you don’t know that negotiations have been successfully concluded until they have been successfully concluded”.
Her goal would, however, be to find a solution “as soon as possible”, as this was “also about planning security for the automotive industry,” von der Leyen said.
(Jonathan Packroff | EURACTIV.de)