05 Mar 2024, 12:08
Julian Wettengel

German conservatives call for reversing combustion engine car ban in draft EU election programme

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's alliance of centre-right conservative parties CDU/CSU is aiming to reverse the ban on new combustion engine cars from 2035, which the EU decided on last year, according to a draft manifesto for the upcoming EU elections. "We want to abolish the ban on combustion engines and preserve Germany's cutting-edge combustion engine technology and develop it further in a technology-neutral way," reads the draft seen by Clean Energy Wire. Synthetic fuels would play a central role in this. Together, the Christian Democratic Union of former chancellor Angela Merkel and its sister party from Bavaria — the Christian Social Union — currently provide the biggest share of German members in the European Parliament and are also leading polls for the elections on 9 June. The parties also support nuclear energy, as they have voiced at the national level in recent months. "For us, the energy mix includes all renewable energies as well as nuclear power – we cannot do without this option at present," says the draft.

Under the current government coalition of Social Democrats (SPD), Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP), Germany had opposed the introduction of a ban on new combustion engine cars from 2035. The FDP insisted on a role for cars which would only use so-called e-fuels, made from renewable electricity and carbon. The government gave up its last-minute resistance to the ban for a promise by the European Commission that a carve-out for such cars would be worked on.

CDU / CSU’s draft manifesto says the parties support the goal to make the EU climate neutral by 2050, but that they bet on innovation, research and "market-based instruments" to help the economy switch to climate-friendly production. They aim to use emissions trading, renewables expansion, energy efficiency and a circular economy in "further developing the Green Deal", the bloc's sustainable growth strategy. However, they also say that companies working on clean technologies should receive more state support. The conservatives say they aim to establish resource and energy partnerships with "reliable partners" to support domestic industries such as the car sector or basic materials production. The election manifesto also calls for "more free trade agreements" between the EU and the U.S. and South America. The programme, which carries the sub-heading "For a Europe which protects and serves", is set to be adopted by the leadership of both parties on 11 March.

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