The Council vote on CO2 standards puts high responsibility on policymakers to support the transition – Statement from CLEPA’s Secretary General Sigrid de Vries

Brussels, 29 June – The Environment and Climate ministers of the 27 Members State met yesterday to deliberate on the Council of the European Union’s general approach on CO2 emission standards for cars and vans.

After negotiations that lasted late into the night, ministers adopted a position which in essence confirms the European Commission’s proposal, including a 100% CO2 emission reduction target in 2035, which is a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine. Council calls for a review of the legislation in 2026, based on an assessment of progress against the reduction targets, technological developments, including plug-in hybrids and the importance of a just transition. The Commission is asked to make a proposal for registering vehicles after 2035 running exclusively on CO2-neutral fuels.

Regarding the outcome of the Council meeting, CLEPA’s Secretary General Sigrid de Vries states:

“We take note of the decision which confirms in principle the de facto ban on the internal combustion engine as of 2035 but does not fully close the door to considering emission reduction using renewable fuels. We have long argued in favour of a technology open approach, with a smart and sensible technology mix of electric vehicles and a measured use of alternative solutions involving advanced internal combustion engine technology.

We are glad to see support from Council for vehicles running on renewable fuels. Whereas we will see a vast deployment of electric vehicles, there are practical, ready to use solutions available for hybrid vehicles, as well as for the existing cars, vans and trucks on the road, which so far have not found sufficient political support. We are looking forward to continuing the dialogue with the European Commission. We had hoped for a clearer decision against banning technology to avoid damage to the existing industrial fabric and to make progress towards an effective and efficient policy for climate neutral mobility.”

With the position agreed by the Council, negotiations with the European Parliament can start. Given the proximity of the mutual positions, these negotiations should not take long.

Looking ahead, Sigrid de Vries comments:

“The decision confirms the trajectory for a substantial transformation of the transport sector at a very high pace. Automotive suppliers are and will continue to do everything they can to make this a success for climate, workers, users of transport and business. However, this decision puts a high responsibility on policymakers to support the transition. We are concerned about the lack of commitment when it comes to the deployment of charging and refuelling infrastructure as well as the capacity for producing renewable electricity and renewable fuels. Going forward, criteria such as affordability, access to raw materials, emissions along the life cycle and employment in the sector need to be considered. The ambitious electrification targets can only be met if the framework conditions are in place.”

For further information, contact Benjamin Krieger.


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