Volker Wissing’s variant harbors problems
Vtransport minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has proposed solutions in the dispute over the combustion engine off. In a letter to the Deputy Commission President Frans Timmermans, the Ministry of Transport has put several options into play as to how new cars with internal combustion engines powered by synthetic fuel, so-called e-fuels, can also be approved after 2035. The condition for Wissing is that the Commission not only makes a declaration of intent, but also presents concrete proposals – and it happens quickly. It is said that progress must be made in the search for a solution.
The letter sent to the bureau chief (head of cabinet) of Timmermans is addressed lists a number of options. The letter is not available to the FAZ, but the content is known to it. The preferred variant is obviously that the European Commission adopts a so-called delegated act – as is well known from the taxonomy debate – that would clear the way for the internal combustion engine.
That would have a number of advantages: Eu Parliament already adopted law on the CO2– Fleet limits for cars themselves would not need to be changed. Such a delegated act can be drafted quickly, i.e. within a few weeks or less. In addition, the voting rules would be different from classic EU laws. The legal act could only be stopped if a qualified majority of states or an absolute majority of the European Parliament opposes it. A majority of states is qualified when at least 55 percent or 15 of 27 members gather behind a proposal, which at the same time represent at least 65 percent of EU citizens.
There is no such qualified majority in the Council of Ministers. A blockade is uncertain in the European Parliament because the vote on the end of combustion engines there was also close. However, there are also a number of problems with this approach. For example, the Commission needs a reliable legal basis in the legal text on CO for a delegated act2-Limits for cars.
Such legal acts are provided for there. However, they relate to technical issues, such as the methodology of the measurement procedures. Building on this, proposing a legal act that would open the door for the combustion engine is legally dubious. According to people familiar with the negotiations between Wissing and Timmermans, the likelihood that the European Court of Justice will overturn such a “legal trick” is very high. Added to this is the political damage, since the European Parliament is likely to feel politically presented.
A sufficient legal basis could be created. But then the legal text itself would have to be untied again. However, this probably also applies to the other options listed by the Ministry of Transport. Firstly, there is the variant that is already circulating in Brussels, the definition of CO2-change to neutral fuels. Secondly, one could use the current legislation for the new emission standards for cars (Euro 7) and thirdly, write a special law. For all of these variants, Wissing would also have to organize a majority in the EU Council of Ministers and Parliament.
The big question anyway is how far the EU Commission wants to go. So far, Timmermans has maintained that the Commission can only issue a declaration of intent. In concrete terms, it should only take place after Wissing prevented the CO. from being passed at the last minute2-Limits for cars.