Germany has called for more flexibility to protect the competitiveness of the domestic automobile industry, and the European Union governments agreed today to seek a revision of a draft law on car emissions.
Under the current proposal, which has so far has been intensely negotiated for weeks, average car emission limits would be lowered to 95 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometer (g/km) by 2020, although there would be varying targets implemented for individual car manufacturers.
Now, EU environment ministers meeting in Luxembourg have given permission to Lithuania to begin discussions with the European Parliament to make changes to the preliminary deal, which was blocked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in June.
“The flexibility margin has to be narrow,” Valentinas Mazuronis, the environment minister of Lithuania, which holds the EU rotating presidency, said. “Results have to be achieved as soon as possible.”
“It was made clear from all sides that we want an ambitious climate-protection goal and, at the same time, it was made clear that in some places more flexibility must be sought and can be found,” German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told reporters after the meeting. “In this narrow room for maneuver, we will find a solution in the coming weeks.”
The decision was taken after Germany started massing a coalition of countries that seek to implement its alternate plan that would see the delay of the emission limits. It proposed the law would become fully applicable to all new cars only in 2024, according to a document submitted by the government before the quarterly ministerial meeting.