Sunday

17th Dec 2017

Franco-German car dispute escalates

  • France made the move because Daimler is not using a newer greener type of coolant (Photo: EUobserver)

Paris has escalated a simmering trade row with Germany by formally notifying the European Commission of its move to block the sale of the latest Mercedes models in France.

The commission Friday (2 August) said it would now “assess whether this provisional measure is lawful or not.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

France filed the notification using EU rules that stipulate that in case of a threat to the environment, member states can take unilateral measures to block the free movement of goods.

Paris argues that Germany is not fulfilling EU climate change obligations.

Under a rule in place since 1 January an air conditioning refrigerant deemed as containing too many greenhouse gases has been banned.

Instead car manufacturers must use a cleaner coolant (R1234yf).

But Germany’s Daimler continues to use the older version (R134a) claiming that studies show that the new one catches fire too easily.

In June, the European Commission threatened Germany with sanction over its breach of the law. Berlin has until 19 August to reply. And the commission a further 10 weeks to reach a decision.

Meanwhile Berlin is said to have lobbied the commission to find France in breach of EU single market rules.

The reaction in Germany to the Mercedes ban has been one of anger. Conservative daily Die Welt suggested France's move was made for protectionist rather than environmental reasons.

But industry commissioner Antonio Tajini indicated earlier this month – before France made the formal notification to the commission – that Paris had good grounds to block A-class, B-class, CLA-class cars that were assembled after 12 June.

“Currently, in the European market, there are vehicles produced by this manufacturer [Daimler] that, according to the preliminary Commission analysis, are not in conformity with their type-approval," he said on 17 July.

"Non-conform vehicles cannot be sold or registered in the European Union," he added.

The commission Friday said there is “no set deadline” for answering to France’s formal notification that it has blocked the cars but that the commission should make a decision “sometime in September.”

EU overflowing with unsold cars

Faced with a shortage of storage space, Japanese car manufacturer Toyota is currently hiring a ship in the Swedish port of Malmo to store unsold cars.

EU will formally renew glyphosate on 12 December

The European Commission will also reply to a million-strong citizens' petition to ban glyphosate, and clarify EU rules concerning scientific studies on which the herbicide's renewal was based.

News in Brief

  1. EU adopts 'track-and-trace' tobacco system
  2. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  3. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  4. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  5. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  6. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  7. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  8. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Catalonia, Brexit, and Uber on EU agenda This WEEK
  2. Macron and Merkel take tough line on Poland
  3. Eurozone future needs structural reforms, EU leaders told
  4. Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June
  5. EU stresses unity as it launches next phase of Brexit talks
  6. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  7. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  8. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states