Battle for EU new car ban: Greens and FDP bicker over combustion engines

According to the will of the EU Parliament, there should be no more new cars with combustion engines from 2035, but the member states still have to agree.

Battle for EU new car ban: Greens and FDP bicker over combustion engines

According to the will of the EU Parliament, there should be no more new cars with combustion engines from 2035, but the member states still have to agree. In Berlin, the Greens and the FDP are arguing about the positioning of the federal government. Business representatives even fear a geopolitical risk.

In the traffic light coalition, a row is brewing over the federal government's position on a possible ban on the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2035. Unlike the FDP, the Greens are pushing for an end to combustion engines. The leader of the Greens, Katharina Dröge, said: "The change to climate-friendly mobility is a huge opportunity that everyone must seize now. The sooner we make the switch in Europe and free ourselves from our dependence on expensive fossil energy, the better we are in the global competition. In the coalition agreement, we clearly agreed to support at European level that only CO2-neutral vehicles may be registered from 2035. For Germany, this must apply earlier."

FDP Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing, on the other hand, said: "We want vehicles with combustion engines to be able to be newly registered after 2035 if they can be proven to only be fueled with e-fuels." The EU Parliament's decision on the combustion engine "didn't meet with our approval. The end means a hard step for the citizens." Many jobs depended on the combustion engine. This is in contrast to what Green Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said in Brussels in March. On behalf of the federal government, she had expressly supported the EU Commission's climate targets, which were tightened last year.

But the head of the FDP parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Christian Dürr, also said in Berlin: "I do not expect that there will be a ban on combustion engines. In addition to the European Parliament, the governments of the EU member states must also agree. The tight decision of the The EU Parliament would throw us back when it comes to climate protection, since a path to climate neutrality - namely the use of synthetic fuels - would be closed." FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner criticized that the decision of the European Parliament contradicted the spirit of the coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. "We expressly wanted a future option for climate-friendly liquid fuels in new internal combustion engines." Therefore, the entire federal government must now "aim for changes for technology openness". Otherwise, Germany's approval would be inconceivable.

Green politician Dröge argued that industry and politics must pull together in order to shape the change in a positive way. "The Europe-wide perspective gives companies the security to invest instead of investing a lot of money in the parallel production of combustion engines and emission-free cars. Parts of the German automotive industry are getting in their own way if they now complain about the pace being too fast." Instead, what is needed now is a joint effort by industry and politics to set up the necessary infrastructure in the appropriate period.

The mechanical engineering association (VDMA) has meanwhile criticized the demand of the EU Parliament. "The vote in the EU Parliament is bad news for the industrial strength and sustainability of the EU," said Deputy VDMA Managing Director Hartmut Rauen. Vehicle CO2 emissions would be capped at zero, regardless of the fuel used.

"This not only means that the EU is giving up its leadership role in combustion engine technologies, but also that a sustainable technological option with great potential is being abandoned," criticized Rauen. The ban will reduce the variety of climate-neutral drive technologies. In addition, Russia and China dominated the supply of the global vehicle industry with scarce key raw materials for electromobility such as nickel, cobalt and magnesium. "This makes phasing out combustion engines a significant geopolitical risk for Europe."

In the fight for more climate protection, the EU Parliament wants to ban the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2035. A majority of MEPs voted in Strasbourg on Wednesday that from the middle of the next decade manufacturers will only be allowed to bring cars and vans onto the market that do not emit any greenhouse gases that are harmful to the climate. Before such a regulation can come into force, Parliament still has to negotiate with the EU states.

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