EU Parliament for the end of combustion engines from 2035

The EU Parliament wants to ban the sale of new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035. A majority of MEPs in Strasbourg voted in favor of manufacturers being only allowed to bring cars and vans onto the market that do not emit greenhouse gases from the middle of the next decade. Before such a regulation can come into force, Parliament still has to negotiate with the EU states. At the end of the month, the EU states want to define their position on the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars. Then the two EU institutions still have to find a compromise.

Germany has already committed to the exit date of 2035. Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) said in Brussels in March on behalf of the federal government that the goal of ending the use of combustion engines in cars and vans by 2035 was supported. At the world climate conference in Glasgow in November, several major car manufacturers, including Mercedes and Ford, called for a sales ban on combustion engines in the leading markets from 2035.

Road traffic alone accounts for around 20 percent of EU CO₂ emissions, as Liberal MP Jan Huitema emphasized before the vote. The so-called fleet limits for cars and vans should drop to zero – which means that the new cars should not emit any CO₂ when driving.

After the vote, German Greens MP Michael Bloss said: “We have decided in favor of the future of Europe as an automotive location.” In the future, the best electric cars and the latest batteries would come from Europe. MEPs also advocated that no climate-friendly synthetic fuels can be counted. With these, a classic combustion engine could be operated in a climate-neutral manner. However, critics fear that there are already too few of these for aviation and shipping, which are less easy to operate electrically than cars or vans.

Criticism came from the CDU. “Unfortunately, the Greens, Liberals and Social Democrats prefer to put everything on the electric mobility card,” said CDU MEP Jens Gieseke. In his own words, he fears for Europe’s competitiveness and numerous jobs. But he conceded: “The ban on combustion engines in 2035 will probably no longer be preventable.”

The draft law is part of the EU’s “Fit for 55” climate package, which aims to reduce harmful emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

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