February 21. 2024. 7:50

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Germany committed to phasing out combustion engine cars, vans


Germany is sticking to the compromise on phasing out internal combustion engines for cars and vans by 2035 despite recent critical voices, especially from the ranks of the Italian government.

“Germany already gave its final approval to the trilogue result, which was reached on 27 October last year, on 16 November,” a spokesperson of the German Environment Ministry told EURACTIV.

In a meeting of member states’ EU ambassadors on 23 November, one month after the deal was struck between EU member states and negotiators of the European Parliament, Germany voted in favour, alongside all other EU member states, except for one against and one who abstained.

The European Parliament also endorsed the agreement earlier this month.

However, member states still need to sign off on the deal at the ministerial level. According to a preliminary agenda, this is to be done on 7 March by the countries‘ education ministers, who are due to meet in Brussels on that day.

“The approval in the Council is just one more formal step towards the conclusion, as previously also done by the European Parliament in plenary last week,” the spokesperson said.

The proposed law, which de-facto bans the registration of new diesel and petrol cars by 2035 as it reduces allowed tailpipe emissions to zero, was controversial within the German government coalition.

The liberal FDP party (Renew Europe), which is in favour of the continued use of combustion engine cars, was won over as a non-binding recital clause was included, which asks the Commission to re-evaluate the use of some new combustion engine vehicles even after 2035.

However, the Italian government’s representatives who had previously agreed to the deal seemed to backtrack from its support after the European Parliament’s vote.

Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega/ID) said the agreement was “crazy and disconcerting” and would be “against Italian and European industries and workers”.

In the formal vote, a so-called qualified majority is needed for the law to pass, representing 55% of member states (i.e. at least 15) and 65% of the EU’s population.

(Jonathan Packroff | EURACTIV.de)