Wednesday

17th Aug 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

Volkswagen scandal may spill into Europe

France and UK call for EU-wide probe to see if German car maker cheated on pollution tests here too, but Commission says it's too early for the move.

Merkel under fire over BMW donation

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under fire over a €690,000 donation from the family behind carmaker BMW at a time when her government blocked an EU cap on CO2 emissions for cars.

German ministries were at war over CO2 car cuts

Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel was not the only German government official trying to water down an EU draft bill on CO2 emissions from passenger vehicles last year. In fact, three Berlin ministries were contradicting each other behind the scenes.

Column

Is this strange summer a moment of change?

It is a strange, strange summer. The war in Ukraine continues, 60 percent of Europe is in danger of drought, and Covid is still around and could rebound in the autumn. At the same time, everyone is desperate for normalcy.

News in Brief

  1. Tens of thousands of Jews quit Russia since start of war
  2. Russia says GDP forecasts better than expected
  3. Spain 'hopeful' for new gas pipeline
  4. German troops return to Bosnia over instability fears
  5. Next UK PM candidates reject Scottish independence push
  6. Russia will not allow British spy plane overflight
  7. Discrimination in Germany remains high, new figures show
  8. US weighs plan to revive Iran nuclear deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us