Tuesday

5th Dec 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'.

EU public procurement reform 'ineffective', find auditors

The EU Commission reformed procurement directives to make bids more attractive (and competitive), but the reform has failed, say auditors. Procedures now take longer, and the number of direct awards and individual tenders has increased over the past decade.

Analysis

What are the big money debates at COP28 UN climate summit?

The most critical UN climate conference (COP28) ever will run from Thursday to mid-December — with talks on climate commitments and climate finance expected to determine the success of this year's summit.

Latest News

  1. EU nears deal to fingerprint six year-old asylum seekers
  2. Orbán's Ukraine-veto threat escalates ahead of EU summit
  3. Can Green Deal survive the 2024 European election?
  4. Protecting workers' rights throughout the AI revolution
  5. Russia, the West, and the geopolitical 'touch-move rule'
  6. Afghanistan is a 'forever emergency,' says UN head
  7. EU public procurement reform 'ineffective', find auditors
  8. COP28 warned over-relying on carbon capture costs €27 trillion

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  3. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  4. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?
  5. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  6. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us