The Greens and the FDP are fighting to ban internal combustion engines

ANDThe coalition committee is to decide on Wednesday evening how the federal government will react to the incineration ban next week. Luxembourg environment ministers are expected to agree on this and other key parts of the climate package on Tuesday. The position of the federal government could play a decisive role in this.

Finally, there are a number of other countries that oppose the ban on internal combustion engines proposed by the Commission until 2035. The nervousness in Berlin was all the greater on Wednesday. The Greens sharply criticized the FDP. Germany’s reputation as a reliable partner in Europe is at stake unless the federal government supports the end of the internal combustion engine in 2035.

In the European Union, the approval of EU Commission proposals for a climate-friendly transport policy is slipping. The entire climate package “Fit for 55” from July last year will be charged.

The Minister for the Environment is on the side of the Commission

The German position is in charge of the Federal Minister of the Environment Steffi Lemke (Greens). It wants to support the Commission’s proposal to allow only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. The entire federal government agreed on the line in March, Lemke said. The corresponding instruction available to the FAZ was also coordinated with the Ministry of Finance. The German ambassador has also represented this position in Brussels in recent weeks.

However, on Tuesday, Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) said that “I in the federal government, we in the federal government will not agree to this legislation.” This was preceded by an intense public debate on the internal combustion engine ban after already approved one week after Pentecost. The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers shall decide on this matter on an equal footing.

Lindner’s statements were interpreted as meaning that he wanted Germany to abstain. This is out of the question for the Ministry of the Environment. Those pushing for approval by the Council of Ministers point out that the course has also been agreed with the Federal Chancellor. For Chancellor Scholz (SPD), it would mean losing face if Germany changed its position and supported the proposal “with all the elements presented”.

The French Presidency is pushing for a swift agreement

It would also be a mockery of the French Presidency, which is negotiating and pushing hard for an agreement before the end of its term at the end of June. If Germany abstains, there is a risk that the Commission’s proposal on climate-friendly transport will not gain the necessary votes. There is a fear that other states will no longer participate.

In fact, there is already a group in the Council of Ministers with Italy, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia for which the ban on internal combustion engines in 2035 is too far away. Together with Germany, they would have the necessary blocking minority to block the proposal. It is irrelevant whether Germany will vote against or abstain.

In addition, the proposal to ban internal combustion engines is closely linked to other legislative proposals in the climate package. The blockade of this single proposal will have an impact on the whole climate package. Due to the complexity of the EU climate package, preparations are currently in full swing. EU ambassadors negotiated for hours on Wednesday. The next meeting will be on Friday and possibly Saturday.

Lindner and his party colleague, Transport Minister Volker Wissing, are particularly opposed to using internal combustion engines after 2035, even with CO2-neutral e-fuels. You need openness to technology, they demand. Proponents of the proposal point out that e-fuels are needed to decarbonise air and shipping. Refueling with e-fuels should remain possible for vehicles such as ambulances or garbage trucks.

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