31st May 2023

EU approves 2035 phaseout of polluting cars and vans

  • EU countries approved the phase-out of petrol, diesel cars from 2035 (Photo: European Parliament)
Listen to article

EU environment ministers on Tuesday (28 March) agreed on a 2035 phase-out of combustion engine cars, concluding a controversial leg of negotiations with Germany.

The agreement will ban the sale of carbon-emitting cars after 2035 and requires car producers to achieve 55 percent CO2 emission reduction from 2030 to 2034 compared to 2021.

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

"The direction is clear: in 2035, new cars and vans must have zero emissions. It brings a big contribution to climate neutrality by 2050 and is a key part of the EU Green Deal," tweeted the EUs green deal commissioner Frans Timmermans, who praised the vote.

Only Poland rejected the regulation outright. Italy, Bulgaria and Romania abstained. Italy wanted biofuels to be included in the final text, but the EU Commission rejected this.

Some sports cars are exempted from meeting the earlier target and may be allowed to run on e-fuels following pressure from Germany, which threatened to reject the proposal.

In the days leading up to Tuesday's vote, Germany had demanded e-fuels be included as zero-emission fuel. E-fuels are synthetic fuels made from hydrogen that do not emit greenhouse gases if produced with solar or wind power. But e-fuels are not yet readily available, more expensive, and far less efficient than electric vehicles.

"The end of the combustion engine was adopted. Now the commission can now sweat creating something for e-fuels that will only be used by Porsche and possibly Ferrari," tweeted Greens MEP Bas Eickhout.

Although Germany won a mention of e-fuels in the final text, it's up to the commission to propose a separate delegated act detailing how e-fuels can count toward emission reduction targets. Delegated acts bypass a parliamentary vote. However, parliament can reject a delegated act outright, making its adoption uncertain.

"I am glad that the Council of the EU has finally endorsed the deal on CO2 standards for cars and vans," said Renew MEP and rapporteur of the file, Jan Huitema, after the vote. "Any possible future proposals concerning the use of e-fuels will be thoroughly assessed, both on their content and their legal basis."

MEPs to vote on risky 'hydrogen for home heating' rule

The gas-boiler industry is pushing for hydrogen to be allowed to heat homes — but as well as being riskier for explosions and exacerbating asthma, experts dub domestic hydrogen 'a dangerous distraction'.

ECB: eurozone home prices could see 'disorderly' fall

The European Central Bank in its Financial Stability Review warned EU home prices could see a 'disorderly' fall as high mortgage rates are making houses unaffordable for households and unattractive for investors.

Adapting to Southern Europe's 'new normal' — from droughts to floods

Extreme weather events in recent months have worsened agricultural production in southern Europe, prompting concerns for authorities in Portugal, Spain, France and Italy. As countries will likely face dryer conditions, experts urge adaptation measures for the 'new normal'.

PFAS 'forever chemicals' cost society €16 trillion a year

Researchers found that global societal costs of the so-called forever chemicals or PFAS amount to €16 trillion per year. Meanwhile, the bigger producers of these chemicals are also among the ones spending the most to lobby EU policies.

EU: national energy price-spike measures should end this year

"If energy prices increase again and support cannot be fully discontinued, targeted policies to support vulnerable households and companies — rather than wide and less effective support policies — will remain crucial," the commission said in its assessment.


EU export credits insure decades of fossil-fuel in Mozambique

European governments are phasing out fossil fuels at home, but continuing their financial support for fossil mega-projects abroad. This is despite the EU agreeing last year to decarbonise export credits — insurance on risky non-EU projects provided with public money.

Latest News

  1. Europe's TV union wooing Lavrov for splashy interview
  2. ECB: eurozone home prices could see 'disorderly' fall
  3. Adapting to Southern Europe's 'new normal' — from droughts to floods
  4. Want to stop forced migration from West Africa? Start by banning bottom trawling
  5. Germany unsure if Orbán fit to be 'EU president'
  6. EU Parliament chief given report on MEP abuse 30 weeks before sanction
  7. EU clashes over protection of workers exposed to asbestos
  8. EU to blacklist nine Russians over jailing of dissident

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  2. ICLEISeven actionable measures to make food procurement in Europe more sustainable
  3. World BankWorld Bank Report Highlights Role of Human Development for a Successful Green Transition in Europe
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic summit to step up the fight against food loss and waste
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThink-tank: Strengthen co-operation around tech giants’ influence in the Nordics
  6. EFBWWEFBWW calls for the EC to stop exploitation in subcontracting chains

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us