22 Apr 2024, 13:46
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany’s conservatives double down on criticism of EU’s planned 2035 combustion engine phase-out

Bild / Die Welt

Politicians from Germany’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance have reinforced their criticism of the planned end of new registrations of combustion engine cars in the EU by 2035. Bavaria’s state premier, Markus Söder from the Christian Socialist Union (CSU), told newspaper Bild that “the end for combustion engines by 2035 is wrong and therefore has to be taken back.” Söder said “retiring a functioning technology and leaving it to other countries is absurd.” Instead of introducing bans “we must allow and support” technologies to flourish, Söder argued. He added that the government should re-introduce its buyer’s premium for electric cars.

Julia Klöckner, economic policy spokesperson for the parliamentary faction of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the CSU’s sister party, told newspaper Die Welt: “I think it is wrong to make a one-sided decision and prohibit a technology for which there is not yet an adequate replacement.” She argued that combustion engines could be made to run on climate-neutral fuel. “But if policymakers don’t even begin to consider such a development in their laws, why should anyone in Europe start research into it,” Klöckner said, adding that “it would be right to prohibit the prohibition of combustion engines.”

Germany’s government coalition parties were split on the issues, Die Welt reported. The head of the Social Democrats’ parliamentary faction (SPD), Detlef Müller, said it would be wrong to scrap the aim of phasing-out new combustion engine cars by the middle of the next decade to ensure planning security for companies. “There needs to be clarity and reliability: the end of combustion engines remains intact,” Müller said. Likewise, the Green Party’s transport policy spokesperson, Stefan Gelbhaar, said the EU should focus on ramping up electric mobility. “We must stimulate the ramp-up in a targeted manner.” At the same time, the Free Democrats’ (FDP) transport expert, Bernd Reuther, said his party “for a long time has called for technology-open solutions, especially with regard to the registration of combustion engine cars”.

The EU Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, who hails from Germany’s CDU, had initially welcomed the proposed ban as part of the Commission’s Green Deal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, earlier this year she said the plan should be reviewed for its feasibility and effects on companies.

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