Eight EU countries opposed to tougher car pollution standards

By Le Figaro with AFP



The EU recently announced the end of sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, in favor of 100% electric vehicles. stock.adobe.com

France and Italy in particular fear that manufacturers will slow down their investments in electric cars.

Eight countries, including France and Italy, expressed their opposition on Monday to the tightening of car pollution standards in the EU proposed by Brussels, judging that it risked slowing down investment by manufacturers in electric vehicles.

The EU recently announced the end of sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, in favor of 100% electric vehicles. The aim is to reduce automobile CO2 emissions to zero to contribute to the continent’s objective of carbon neutrality by 2050. On the pollution side, the European Commission presented its proposals in November for the new standard, called Euro 7, which should apply to all private vehicles from 2025 regardless of their engine, in order to reduce air pollution linked to road transport responsible for 70,000 deaths each year in the EU.

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We oppose any new exhaust gas rules (including new requirements on test conditions or new emission limits) for cars and light commercial vehicles“Wrote in a working document the States opposed to this text, including France and Italy which are home to a major automotive industry. “These new rules would put a brake on the necessary investments by industry in the transition to zero emissions», Estimate these countries which also include Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia. They also consider the deadline of 2025 too close.

Germany, by far the leading European automotive power, did not sign the text, but it has repeatedly expressed concern about the impact of tougher standards for its businesses. The coalition government is struggling to find a common line between Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens. According to calculations by the European executive, the Euro 7 standard would in particular make it possible to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 35% from penger cars and light commercial vehicles and by 56% from buses and trucks by 2035, compared to the previous Euro 6 standard.

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“Reasonable and pragmatic”?

But the new standard is contested by the automotive industry, which considers its environmental benefit limited in relation to its cost. Faced with mive investments to develop their new electric range in the face of formidable competition from Tesla and Chinese manufacturers, it wants to avoid additional investments in thermal engines that are anyway doomed to disappear. The sector employs 13 million people in Europe.

Many countries have joined Italy in asking the Commission to be reasonable and pragmaticon the future Euro 7 standard, welcomed Italian Minister of Enterprises Adolfo Urso on Monday, quoted by Italian media. The hardening proposed by the Commission was however considered insufficient by the defenders of the environment who already accused Brussels of yielding to the automobile lobby.

In particular, the Commission has proposed modifying the conditions for testing polluting gas emissions from vehicles to bring them more into line with real driving conditions, but without modifying the thresholds imposed on petrol cars and only slightly lowering those of diesel vehicles.

These thresholds would however be significantly reduced for heavy goods vehicles, another point disputed on Monday by the eight signatory countries which judge these objectives “too ambitious“. The EU Member States, very divided on the subject, must try to find a common position, before negotiations which promise to be very complicated with the European Parliament.

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