May 19. 2024. 2:08

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Italian parties united against EU ban on combustion engine

Italian parties on all sides of the political aisle, including key government ministers, have criticised the European Parliament for recently approving a law that effectively bans the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the European Union from 2035.

EU lawmakers in the European Parliament narrowly voted in favour of phasing out internal combustion vehicles in passenger transport from 2035.

The decision is “crazy and disconcerting,” particularly “against Italian and European industries and workers” and benefits Chinese companies and interests, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega/Id) said about the new EU law.

Similarly, on the left, former prime minister Romano Prodi unexpectedly criticised the European Parliament’s greenlight in an interview with Il Messaggero.

“Europe’s green choice penalises our country […] It will result in a loss of more than 50,000 jobs and considerable damage to our trade balance”, Prodi said.

“I wonder if such drastic choices and in such a short time frame are the best decision to protect the future of our planet”, he added.

Prodi is in the same line with several centre-right politicians, such as Enterprise and Made in Italy Minister Adolfo Urso, who described the decision made by Brussels as “short-sighted” and “ideological”.

“Russia’s war should have taught us something. You cannot depend on others: yesterday on Russian fossil sources, today on Chinese green technology”, he said in an interview with La Stampa.

“We are absolutely convinced that we need to reach those goals and within the set timeframe, but we need to graduate the stages better and be more flexible in the ways”, he added.

Meloni’s double record

In June 2022, the former government of then-prime minister Mario Draghi came out in favour of a general approach that had been approved by the Council.

During Council negotiations at the time, Italy’s position was “rather isolated” though it managed to “defend” the points it claimed in trilogue discussions with the Commission, Council and the European Parliament and find a compromise agreement.

On 23 November, when the Meloni government represented Italy in Brussels, COREPER gave its greenlight to the agreement, which then passed through the EU Parliament.

Democratic Party MEP Brando Benifei (PD/S&D) pointed out that the centre-right parties in the European Parliament voted against the EU regulation, while the Italian government representative at the COREPER meeting did not oppose it.

“We are faced with an attempt to politically instrumentalise a discussion that is fundamental for the future of Italian and European industry. We need an admission of responsibility from those who govern the country instead of hiding behind a position that is evidently inconsistent and lacking in a vision of industrial policy aimed at the future”, Benifei said about the government.

The law that was approved by the European Parliament is to return to EU member states for formal approval.

(Federica Pascale |