12 Jun 2023, 13:50
Sören Amelang

German transport minister says proposed Euro 7 car emission rules “fatal mistake”


Germany’s government coalition disagrees about the EU Commission’s proposal to tighten vehicle emission limits with the so-called Euro 7 regulation. Green environment minister Steffi Lemke urged for the new rules to limit pollutants including nitrogen oxides from cars and vans from 2025 to be quickly adopted, but transport minister Volker Wissing – from the pro-business Free Democrats – told broadcaster ntv that he rejected the plans because they are too expensive for the car industry and its customers. “It’s regulation that slows down climate protection and makes mobility more expensive,” Wissing said. “If the car industry is forced to invest considerable sums in combustion engines, the money will be lacking for electromobility and other climate-neutral mobility options. That's why many transport ministers in Europe think this regulation is a fatal mistake. So do I." Wissing said Euro 7 will bring only minor benefits for environmental protection and health. "If such a big investment like Euro 7 brings such a small advantage, it is obvious that we should drop it. That's why I reject it."

The European Commission proposal still needs to be approved by EU states and the bloc’s parliament, but it faces strong resistance. Last month, eight EU member states called for scrapping the plans. France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia argued in a joint paper that tougher pollution limits could divert crucial investments needed to reach the EU's goal of effectively banning new combustion engine vehicles after 2035. If Germany’s government – composed of Social Democrats (SPD), Greens, and FDP – cannot agree on a common line, Germany will probably have to abstain from a member state vote on Euro 7.

The EU proposal already came under fire earlier this year from Wissing, the country’s car industry, and the premiers of Germany’s three most important carmaking states. Wissing’s last-minute veto also forced a delay in the previously agreed de-facto EU ban of new combustion engine cars from 2035, when he insisted on allowances for so-called e-fuels.

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