Friday

30th Sep 2016

Germany gets its way on EU car emissions

  • Angela Merkel is protecting the German car industry at any cost (Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler)

EU environment ministers on Monday (14 October) caved in to German pressure and agreed to reopen a deal that had been reached in June on a cap for CO2 emissions for new cars.

The deal would have limited all new cars' carbon emissions to 95 grams per kilometre from 2020 on.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

But Germany, home of big carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen, argued that the cap is not "flexible" enough and could endanger its industry and jobs.

"It is not a fight over principles but on how we bind the necessary clarity in climate protection with the required flexibility and competitiveness to protect the car industry in Europe," German environment minister Peter Altmaier said at the meeting in Luxembourg.

"I am convinced we can find such a solution. We can find it in the next weeks," he added.

EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard however did not hide her disappointment.

"It is not a terrific thing that we could not conclude on cars," she said, adding that Germany's demand to delay implementation four more years to 2024 was not acceptable.

Several countries including the UK and Poland supported the German stance, while others - Belgium, France and Italy - backed the original deal.

The Lithuanian EU presidency will now start talks with the European Parliament, seeking a new agreement that accommodates Germany's demands.

“The flexibility margin has to be narrow,” Lithuanian environment minister Valentinas Mazuronis said.

Environment campaigners criticised the fact that Germany got its way.

“The European Parliament should stand firm and reject Germany’s demands, which only serve to damage the climate, increase costs for consumers and stifle technological innovation," Greenpeace EU transport policy director Franziska Achterberg said.

"It should insist that emission reductions by 2025 be included in the legislation,” she added.

Investigation

VW: EU's action plan is 'nothing new'

Consumer affairs commissioner Jourova said Volkswagen has "committed to an EU-wide action plan", but the promise contains little news value according to the carmaker itself.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFAEFA Supports a YES Vote in the Hungarian Referendum
  2. ACCAFinTech Boom Needs Strong Guidance to Navigate Regulatory Hurdles
  3. Counter BalanceWhy the Investment Plan for Europe Does not Drive the Sustainable Energy Transition
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region Seeks to Make Its Voice Heard in the World
  5. Taipei EU OfficeCountries Voice Support for Taiwan's Participation in ICAO
  6. World VisionNew Tool Measuring Government Efforts to Protect Children Released
  7. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  8. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  9. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  10. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  11. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  12. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List