Sunday

9th Dec 2018

EU ministers seek slightly more ambition in CO2 cars bill

  • Austrian environment minister Elisabeth Kostinger chaired the meeting. The Austrians rewrote the compromise text several times during the day (Photo: Council of the European Union)

Negotiations between EU institutions on a new bill that will set CO2 standards for cars and vans until 2030 will begin on Wednesday afternoon (10 October) after EU environment ministers achieved a common position late on Tuesday evening.

The compromise deal was reached at a Council of the EU meeting in Luxembourg that began in the morning and wrapped up only shortly before midnight.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • EU climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told ministers to reach a deal, because "failing to do so will have serious consequences". (Photo: Council of the European Union)

Austrian environment minister Elisabeth Kostinger, who chaired the ministerial meeting, said that the deal was supported by 20 of the EU's 28 member states.

Four were against, while four abstained, she said – although a source from one of the member states said there was no formal vote. The distribution of member states was rather an estimate made by Kostinger, the source added.

At a press conference, Kostinger said the council wanted cars to emit 35 percent less CO2 by 2030 compared to 2020 - as opposed to the original proposal of 30 percent from the European Commission.

The council maintained the commission proposal of 30 percent less CO2 emissions by 2030 for vans.

Those targets are considerably lower than what the European Parliament proposed last week - MEPs said that the 2030 target for both cars and vans should be 40 percent reduction.

The Austrian minister said the 35 percent target was "very ambitious", but could not give additional details at the press conference - asking journalists instead to wait for the final compromise text to be distributed.

At the beginning of the day, a substantial majority of countries expressed support for higher targets. But as the day progressed, the Austrian presidency tweaked its compromise proposal to keep Germany and central and eastern EU states on board.

In particular countries where the automotive industry had factories said they did not want ambition to be too high, for fear of job losses.

Several central and eastern countries also expressed concern that too high targets would lead to polluting cars ditched by western European consumers ending up on the second-hand market in the east.

EU diplomat Joe Hackett, representing Ireland, said his country was against the final outcome.

At the end of the meeting, Hackett noted that Ireland would draft a declaration expressing its "disappointment". Delegations from Luxembourg, Sweden, Slovenia, Denmark, and the Netherlands supported Ireland's text.

"We are disappointed that the outcome … did not reflect the desire for greater ambition so many ministers had clearly voiced," the text said.

"The target reductions agreed here will allow the EU manufacturing industry to lose momentum at a time when the industry worldwide is on the brink of transformative change," it went on.

The ministers had put a lot of political pressure on themselves to come to an agreement on Tuesday.

EU commissioner for climate action, Miguel Arias Canete, said that "failing to do so will have serious consequences".

The environment ministers were meeting only a day after the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report about the consequences of overshooting the 1.5C threshold of global warming - average global temperatures are already around 1C higher than in pre-industrial times.

Many ministers mentioned this IPCC report as an important reason to reach a compromise, as a political signal to the world.

The council will now enter into talks with the commission and the parliament, to reach a final compromise of compromises, which will then become the final text of the future EU regulation.

MEPs back stricter CO2 levels for cars after nail-biter vote

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday on draft legislation that will determine the CO2 emission reductions required by 2030. Where the EU commission had proposed a 30 percent cut, MEPs opted for a 40 percent reduction.

Commission 'non-paper' on car CO2 levels backfires

The European Commission published additional information on its proposal for new regulations on cars' CO2 levels - a week before the European Parliament was due to vote on it. Lead MEP Miriam Dalli is not amused.

New Commission CO2 rules for cars include some 'leeway'

Cars should emit 30 percent less CO2 by 2030, the Commission proposed, but carmakers will be allowed to miss that target (up to a point) if they manufacture a certain share of low emission vehicles.

News in Brief

  1. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wins CDU leadership election
  2. Huawei hits back at EU commissioner warning
  3. EU digital commissioner 'worried' on Huawei situation
  4. EU adopts controversial definition of 'antisemitism'
  5. France braces for weekend riots
  6. Italy's 'Salvini decree' renders migrants homeless
  7. Latvia rejects UN migrant pact
  8. EU's new 10,000 border guard force may not be 'feasible'

Stakeholder

COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world

The Nordic Pavilion at COP24 is dedicated to dialogue – TalaNordic – about key themes regarding the transition to a low-carbon society, such as energy, transport, urban futures, the circular economy and green financing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Merkel loyalist AKK wins CDU leadership battle
  2. Brexit vote and Merkel's successor top This Week
  3. Brexit, migration, cities - and the UN pact
  4. EU Commission spins half-truth on 'unsafe' refugee boats
  5. COP24 Nordic Pavilion: sharing climate solutions with the world
  6. From Malta to Poland: each EU state to have AI strategy
  7. Hungary and Poland: EU capitals of homophobia
  8. Austerity did not help Italy - maybe spending will?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  2. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  3. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  5. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  6. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  8. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  10. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us