BERLIN (dpa) – In the dispute over the German position on the possible end of combustion engines at the European Union level, there remains a clear line from the federal government.
This Tuesday, EU member states will decide at the Environment Council whether to support a ban on new registrations of combustion-engine vehicles from 2035. Within the federal government, the internal coalition continued to vote on how Germany stands on this sensitive issue on Monday.
Deputy government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner said he was confident the talks would “reach a good result” – even if there was little time left until Tuesday.
In the past few days, differing views on this important decision have become clear between coalition partner FDP and Green Environment Minister Stevie Lemke. While the FDP strongly rejects the committee’s proposal to phase out combustion engines from 2035, Lemke advocates for the project. The Green Party politician also points out that the federal government has long agreed to approve the plan.
Habeck willing to compromise
The Green Minister for Climate and Economic Affairs, Robert Habeck, indicated his willingness to make concessions on the combustion issue on Monday, without giving any further details. “Europe is a living settlement machine and we are working on it,” Habeck said Monday in Luxembourg. He explained that a good solution must be found for the different “special points of view” of the different EU countries.
Green Party leader Ricarda Lang was more specific, noting that the SPD, the Green Party and the FDP had agreed on a very clear position in their coalition agreement. “I am sure that Germany will also act within the framework of this coalition agreement,” Lang said Monday after deliberations from the party’s executive director in Berlin. Since negotiations have also been taking place at the European level on the basis of this position in recent months, the credibility of climate policy is not only at stake for Germany, but also the credibility of European policy, Lang said.
The Green Party leader is hinting at a clause in the coalition agreement aimed at ensuring that vehicles that can be refueled with synthetic, so-called e-fuel, can also be newly registered in the future – a sticking point in the dispute between the FDP and the Greens. There it says, “Outside of the current system of fleet limits, we are committed to ensuring that only e-fuel vehicles can be newly registered.” A clip that was clearly interpreted differently by the coalition partners involved.
The so-called fleet limits limit the number of greenhouse gases that newly manufactured cars are allowed to emit during operation. From 2035, according to the commission’s proposal, the value should be reduced to zero, which in fact can only be achieved by banning new registrations of combustion engines. There is no problem for Environment Minister Lemke, since in her view the use of e-fuels can only be envisaged in certain areas “outside the boundaries of the fleet”, such as air traffic. On the other hand, the FDP does not want to support a general ban on combustion engines, which could slow e-fuels, regardless of fleet limits.
The Liberals are also getting a tailwind from the ranks of the Union, which also rejects the plan to phase out combustion engines as ineffective.
What does Chancellor Schultz say?
Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD), on the other hand, did not make a clear statement on this issue. Representatives of environmental organizations such as Greenpeace chief Martin Kaiser called on the chancellor on Monday to “speak unequivocally to end the combustion engine.” Deputy Government Spokesperson Buechner explained that the federal government supports the European Union’s “Fit for 55” climate protection package and the proposal to review carbon dioxide emissions standards for new cars and light commercial vehicles. Everything else will be coordinated within the alliance.
If approval of the project fails due to the FDP’s veto, the federal government can abstain from the vote. In this way, the necessary majority can be jeopardized as in the case of a dissenting vote.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220627-99-817860 / 4