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(New: With Lemke’s reaction to Lindner in the fifth paragraph)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The traffic light coalition is still unable to agree on a common course for the planned end of combustion across the EU from 2035. In particular, the positions between the green environment ministry, which is clearly in favor of a closure, and the two departments of transport and finance led by the FDP, differ significantly.
According to Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP), the federal government will not agree to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035 at EU level. During Industry Day in Berlin on Tuesday, he said there would be regions of the world where electromobility could not be introduced for the next several decades. If there is a ban on the new registration of an internal combustion engine, it will not be further developed, at least not in Europe and Germany.
That’s why he thinks the decision to de facto ban internal combustion engines is wrong, said Lindner: “That’s why I decided that I in the federal government, that we in the federal government would not agree to this European legislation.”
Lindner also received support for his position on Tuesday from Transport Minister FDP Volker Wissing, who had been very critical of the EU’s plans in the past. Wissing said on Industry Day that Finance Minister Lindner had found the right words. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to achieving climate goals. Different drives are needed. “That’s why we need to remain open to technology.”
Just hours earlier, Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (The Greens) said at a mobility transition event that “the entire federal government” agreed in March to “support the European Commission’s proposal in all forms, from 2035 only zero-emission vehicles allow”. She said she needed climate-friendly propulsion for the car. “And that’s why we need the approval of the federal government and Germany for the Commission’s proposal to phase out internal combustion engines by 2035.” Regarding Lindner’s speech, Lemke told the German Press Agency that evening: that the federal government sticks to its previous common line on the internal combustion engine planned in Europe from 2035. ”The European Commission’s proposals and the compromises reached are sound.
The European Parliament wants to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035. Most MEPs voted in favor that, from the middle of the next decade, manufacturers should only be able to market cars and vans that do not emit any climate-damaging greenhouse gases.
Automotive Industry Association president Hildegard Müller told DPA: “It is good that the debate about the EU’s combustion ban is finally taking place in the federal government. The EU has yet to come forward with a plan to create the conditions for selling only electric cars from 2035. ” A comprehensive, reliable charging infrastructure throughout Europe is a mandatory requirement for consumers. “We are a long way from that in Germany – and with such a weak performance compared to Europe, we are still better than almost everyone else.”
Basically, you also have to think outside the box, outside of Europe, says Müller. “All technology is needed to achieve climate goals in transport.” Companies in the German automotive industry are operating globally and the internal combustion engine will continue to be sold worldwide after 2035. Different technologies have contributed to sustainable mobility in different regions. “This also includes synthetic fuels to decarbonise the vehicle fleet.”
The dispute in the coalition that has been smoldering for weeks concerns mainly the use of synthetic fuels, the so-called e-fuels. Wissing says vehicles with internal combustion engines can be re-registered after 2035 if it can be proven that they run exclusively on e-fuels.
Produced using green energy, e-fuels do not emit any additional greenhouse gases, but until now have only been available in small amounts.
Lemke believes that this type of fuel is only suitable in certain areas because more electricity is needed to produce it than electric cars. Lemke stressed on Tuesday that e-fuels could play a role in “special vehicles such as excavators and fire brigades.”
Environmental groups criticized the attitude of FDP ministers. “The internal combustion engine is a recall model. Christian Lindner will not change that either. By abstaining in the EU Environment Council on the important issue of phasing out internal combustion engines, Germany would harm a company that has long been moving towards a battery-powered future, commented BUND Managing Director Antje von Broock.
At the meeting of EU environment ministers next Tuesday, EU countries want to adopt their position on the project. The decision does not have to be unanimous, a qualified majority is enough. Germany may also abstain if the fronts remain as tight as they are at the moment.
A qualified majority is obtained under two conditions: first, at least 15 of the 27 EU countries must give their consent and must represent at least 65 percent of the total EU population.
Before the ban comes into force, however, EU countries must also come to an agreement with the European Parliament. In Brussels, many people are now assuming that from 2035 there will be an end to new internal combustion engines. Then the decision would also be binding on Germany – regardless of whether the federal government has previously agreed to it./faa/DP/mis
The leverage must be between 2 and 20