Transport ministers from eight European Union countries have raised concerns over the proposed Euro 7 law, which seeks to tighten limits on health-harming pollutants, including nitrogen oxides. The law is set to be negotiated this year, with the European Union stating that the benefits of the stricter limits would far outweigh the costs. However, the transport ministers of the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia argue that the proposed rules are too burdensome for the industry, given that most of these countries have large car-making sectors.
Unrealistic deadlines to enforce the proposed Euro 7 law
An EU official revealed that the ministers discussed the “unrealistic” deadlines set by the proposed law, as well as the technical issues with the equipment required to enforce it.
The Czech Republic, which convened the meeting in Strasbourg, proposed extending the period for the norm to take effect from mid-2025 to four years, along with some technical changes, to give the industry time to prepare and boost technological measures.
Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka stressed the need for “technologically realistic measures” to achieve greater carbon neutrality.
Opposition to EU’s 2035 deadline to phase out CO2-emitting cars
The transport ministers also discussed the EU’s 2035 deadline to phase out carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting cars, which would make it impossible to sell new combustion engine cars after that year.
The CO2 law, which aims to accelerate Europe’s shift to electric vehicles, is on hold after last-minute opposition from Germany this month.
Countries like Italy and the Czech Republic back Germany’s stance, seeking clearer assurances that new cars with internal combustion engines can still be sold after 2035 if they run on CO2-neutral fuels.
Different reservations of other countries
On the other hand, Poland opposes the proposal, stating that it would make combustion engines more expensive for consumers.
The EU argues that the 2035 date is critical, given that the average lifespan of new cars is 15 years. Thus, a later ban would prevent the EU from achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This is a global milestone that scientists say would avert disastrous climate change.
Transport accounts for roughly a quarter of EU emissions.
Lobbying to weaken the proposed Euro 7 law
Parts of Europe’s car industry are lobbying to weaken the proposed Euro 7 law. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, for instance, believes that Berlin “takes the appropriate steps”. Germany trying to ensure using e-fuels in new combustion engine cars after 2035.
The proposed Euro 7 law and the EU’s 2035 deadline to phase out CO2-emitting cars have elicited mixed reactions from various EU countries. While some countries argue that the proposed rules are too burdensome for the industry, others feel they are critical to achieving greater carbon neutrality.
Lobbying by some parts of the car industry to weaken the proposed Euro 7 law may further complicate the negotiations. As the EU seeks to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, it must strike a delicate balance between environmental sustainability and the interests of the car industry.