Saturday

23rd Sep 2017

Commission in turmoil over car emission proposals

The EU's controversial plans to force car makers to make greener cars from 2012 or face fines have caused strong division within the European Commission itself, with industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen said to have boycotted the press conference to announce the proposals on Wednesday (19 December).

Under the plans, cars should emit an average of 130 grammes of carbon dioxide in four years time or be subject to fines rising to €95 per gramme over the limit in 2015.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The plans have caused big splits in the commission and upset the car industry (Photo: European Parliament)

Practically it is expected to mean that big gas-guzzling cars will become more expensive while smaller more efficient cars will be relatively cheaper.

Subject to intense lobbying and causing unusually deep divisions in the commission, the proposals have been worked on jointly by officials in the environment and industry unit of the Brussels executive since early this year.

But only environment commissioner Stavros Dimas presented them on Wednesday although his industry colleague was scheduled to take part as well.

According to Spiegel Online, Mr Verheugen, who comes from Germany where powerful car manufacturers such as BMW say they will be most adversely affected by the plans, deliberately chose not to take part in the announcement.

Meanwhile, transport commissioner Jacques Barrot (French) and Justice commissioner Franco Frattini (Italian) also rejected the blueprint.

Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso is reportedly standing behind Mr Dimas who presented the outline on behalf of the whole commission yesterday.

Affecting Mr Barroso's job?

Germany has already strongly criticised the plans with chancellor Angela Merkel saying "I believe this is industrial policy at the expense of German auto producers."

"We are not satisfied," the chancellor said, with her economy minister Michael Glos even accusing the commission of staging a "war of destruction" against German car-makers.

FT Deutschland reports German centre-right MEPs are also threatening not to support Mr Barroso in his likely bid for a second term as head of the commission from 2009.

"The question of whether Barroso is taking into account the legitimate interests of the German industry will help decide whether we back him for a second term in office," Christian Democrat MEP Werner Langen, told the paper.

The German MEP threat is being presented as a counterpoint to French president Nicolas Sarkozy who has being lobbying the commission president for proposals that would favour small car makers such as Peugeot.

In order to get the job a second time, Mr Barroso has to be accepted by all EU leaders as well as a majority in the EU parliament.

German centre-right politicians belong to the European People's Party (EPP), currently the biggest party in the EU assembly.

Mr Barroso, a former centre-right Portuguese prime minister, also comes from the EPP family.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

May seeks EU grace period

Eagerly awaited Brexit speech was foggy on details, but May pledged to honour financial commitments while calling for a two-year transition deal after the UK left.

Hungary and Poland defy EU authority

Hungary and Poland have said they "don't want a mixed population", amid a tug-of-war with the Commission on migrants and rule of law.

Quiet showdown in Barcelona

Thousands of Catalans have taken to the streets, in protest against the Spanish government's efforts to prevent the independence referendum. Both sides know that violence would go against their cause.

May seeks EU grace period

Eagerly awaited Brexit speech was foggy on details, but May pledged to honour financial commitments while calling for a two-year transition deal after the UK left.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch state appeals ban on taking air-polluting measures
  2. May proposes 2-year transition period after Brexit
  3. May to call on EU's 'sense of responsibility'
  4. Catalonia has 'contingency plans' for independence vote
  5. Last German polls confirm Merkel's lead
  6. EU to step up sanctions on North Korea
  7. Tusk calls 'euro summit' in December
  8. Report: May to seek two-year EU transition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEEU Finance Ministers Agreed to Develop New Digital Taxation Rules
  2. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  3. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  4. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  6. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  7. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  10. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  11. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  12. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel