Burner off: EU countries decide on a compromise in the dispute – politics
In the past few weeks, Germany has caused many EU partners to shake their heads and become angry. In the dispute over climate-friendly mobility and the end of combustion engines, the federal government withdrew its approval of a compromise shortly before the decisive vote. In particular Minister of Transport Volker Wissing and his FDP made additional demands and campaigned for so-called e-fuels.
Only after weeks of a German blockade has a decision been made: From 2035 onwards, only zero-emission cars should be newly registered. That’s what the EU states decided in Brussels – with a back door for the combustion engine. In theory, combustion cars can also be approved if they are operated solely with e-fuels. Only Italy and Poland voted against the compromise.
These are produced using large amounts of green electricity, hydrogen and CO₂ from the atmosphere. Unlike petrol or diesel, they do not release any additional climate-damaging gases. However, whether a relevant number of combustion engines will be approved after 2035 is completely open. E-fuels are considered inefficient and expensive. Car expert Ferdinand Dudenhöffer cites the high cost of producing the fuel and the “creepy energy balance” as arguments against such drives – an extremely large amount of electricity is consumed during production.
The fact that the federal government first agreed to a compromise and then changed its mind at the very end of the long legislative process is an extremely rare occurrence at EU level. Germany is blackmailing Europe for domestic reasonsbecause the FDP wants to distinguish itself, it said in Brussels.
In addition to the image damage, it is also controversial how the recent agreement can be implemented at all. A separate category for cars that can only be operated with e-fuels is to be created for combustion engines. Technical solutions for this would have to come from the automotive industry. The functioning of engines that use e-fuels is basically no different from normal petrol or diesel engines.
Legally, e-fuel cars are also to be included in the EU regulations by a so-called delegated act. These are issued by the EU Commission, but the EU Parliament and EU states can object for two months. The SPD member of parliament and professor of European law René Repasi has already expressed doubts on Twitter as to whether the project will succeed as planned. Green politicians from the European Parliament had also announced that they wanted to examine the compromise closely.