Talks between Germany’s Transport Ministry and the European Commission about the planned end of new combustion engines from 2035 are moving forward, the ministry said on Monday, but added it could not say when an agreement would be reached.
After months of negotiations, the European Parliament, the Commission and European Union member states agreed last year to the law that would require new cars sold in the EU from 2035 to have zero CO2 emissions – effectively making it impossible to sell combustion engine cars from that date.
But Germany this month declared its last-minute opposition. It wants sales of new cars with internal combustion engines to be allowed after that date if they run on e-fuels.
“There are positive trends that are a good basis for further talks,” a spokesman for the ministry told a news conference.
The ministry, run by the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), proposed last week that the Commission should provide a separate vehicle category for cars that run only on e-fuels, a letter from the ministry to the EU executive seen by Reuters showed.
The Commission declined to comment on the letter, which also suggested allowing carmakers to count such cars towards complying with CO2 targets.
EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said in a news conference on Thursday that once a deal on a law is agreed between EU countries and the European Parliament, it is important that both sides respect it.
“At the same time, we have to make sure that the interpretation of that agreement people give is also something we can agree upon. And this is an ongoing conversation we are having with the German authorities right now,” Timmermans said.
Such changes are legally problematic as the European Parliament has approved the regulations agreed between the bloc’s member states and the Commission, meaning any change could be complicated and time-consuming.
An EU official said member states had been told at a meeting in November that the Commission would make a proposal on registering cars running on e-fuels after 2035, but only after the CO2 law for cars is finally adopted.