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Forget Global Warming: Merkel Seeks To Derail EU Compromise On Car Emissions


Germany is working to derail a compromise deal to enforce stricter rules on carbon dioxide emissions for all new cars in the European Union from 2020, EU sources said on Wednesday (26 June).

Government sources in Berlin said Germany would not support the deal reached early this week to enforce a new CO2 limit of 95 grams per kilometre (g/km) as an average across the EU fleet.

In Brussels three sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Germany was seeking allies to overturn the provisional agreement and was applying intense pressure on fellow member states.

Representatives of member states are expected to meet on Thursday to consider the deal.

“The Germans, at the highest possible level, are piling on a lot of pressure,” one of the sources said.

Diplomatic sources told EurActiv that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was up late last night lobbying heads of government to back her in delaying the vote.

A draft agreement late on Monday allowed for some flexibility in enforcement of the new 2020 standard, but less than Germany had hoped for.

The EU’s rotating Irish presidency clearly backed the deal, saying that it struck the right balance between environmental ambition and economic considerations. But Enda Kenny, the Irish premier, reportedly took the deal off the agenda of the Council following pressure from Merkel.

Germany has been lobbying for weeks to shelter its premium car sector by campaigning for loopholes, known as supercredits.

These allow manufacturers to carry on producing more polluting vehicles provided they also make very low emissions vehicles, such as electric cars.

Germany says supercredits encourage innovation, while the Commission says too many of them mean producers can carry on making higher emissions models and emissions levels will fail to meet the target of 95 g/km target by 2020.

One German carmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, called the cars deal “a victory for the southern Europeans,” meaning Italy, Spain and France, as opposed to Germany.

“The car industry provides a lot of jobs in Germany and is a pillar of Germany’s competitiveness,” a government source said.

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