The European Parliament delayed a vote on new car pollution limits that could have rejected the compromised softer limits agreed by EU members.
The European Commission has reached a compromise deal over new test procedures for cars back in October last year, which could allow vehicles to still emit more than two times the agreed pollution levels. In December, the European parliament’s environmental committee voted against the proposal, with the final vote of the Parliament due this week. But on Thursday, members of the center-right European People’s Party and of the Socialists and Democrats supported the pushing back of a plenary vote until next month, Reuters says. Advocates of the new rules argue that, if the January vote confirms the environmental committee’s opposition to the EU’s emissions testing deal, it could mean a delay of up to two years while the European Commission drafts a new proposal. They also say a rejection of the proposed law would create uncertainty in the automotive industry and would delay investments in cleaner technologies.
Politicians said they needed the time to come up with an alternative proposal for future legislation on emissions. “We are negotiating informally with the Commission and we want something substantial in our hands at the end of the day if we vote against the objection,” said German Socialist Matthias Groote. The environmental politicians criticized the postponement, claiming that “the clear intention … is to prevent this fundamentally-flawed driving emissions test procedure from being rejected,” said Rebecca Harms, co-head of the Green group. “This may be in the interest of some laggards in the car industry but it is clearly not in the interest of Europe’s citizens.” The vote is now expected to take place in the first week of February.