Ν. Peter Kramer’s Weekly Column
Will there not be a ban on new petrol and diesel cars in 2035? Political divisions in the German government put a bomb under the car law of Commissioner Timmermans. After the October agreement between member states and the European Parliament, everyone in Brussels blindly assumed that the ban on the sale of new cars with CO2 emissions from 2035 was final. This ban means de facto the end of the internal combustion engine.
The usual round of voting on the compromise between member states and the EP is normally a formality. But it is precisely with this historic law, that with the finish in sight, everything is slightly different. The ‘green’ EP has already agreed, but the final decision by member states has been postponed until further notice. The support of Germany has suddenly become uncertain. One of the three governing parties, the liberal FDP, is blocking it.
FDP party leader and minister of finance, Christian Lindner, demands certainty about the wish that the new cars with a petrol or diesel engine will be allowed after 2035 if they run on CO2-free synthetic fuels. ‘We first need legal certainty. If this is arranged, everything will continue’, Lindner said. But the Commission, especially Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans, doesn’t really want these technology, because it is ‘something for the future’. Under pressure from France, a separate proposal has been promised, but for an old hand as Lindner is that too noncommittal.
Within the German government coalition the other two parties, SPD and the Greens, do want to agree, but Berlin takes EU decisions by consensus. If the vote goes ahead, Germany must abstain and due to resistance from countries as Italy and Poland, there is no longer a majority for the green car law. And insufficient support automatically means the end of the plan.