After Germany insisted that an earlier deal should be discarded, which resulted in months of hassle, the EU finally agreed on a compromise to enforce stricter rules on carbon dioxide emissions for EU cars.
The new outline agreement delays 100 percent implementation of a limit of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer (CO2/km) for all new cars until 2021 from a previous deadline of 2020.
It also changes the rules on flexibility, giving more leeway to German luxury car manufactures such as Daimler and BMW whose emissions are higher than those of smaller, lighter automakers such as Fiat.
“We have worked together with the European Parliament for limited additional flexibility. Tonight we have found a very delicate balance,” said Arunas Vinciunas, the ambassador for Lithuania, which holds the rotating EU presidency.
He added the deal would be presented to a meeting of EU diplomats on Friday, with a view to getting their agreement. It would then have to be signed off by member state governments and the European Parliament.
Provided it is signed into law, it will draw a line under six months of acrimony over what other member states saw as heavy-handed negotiating tactics from Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose party received money from BMW, took up the cause of the big German carmakers, declaring she was protecting German jobs, and persuaded other EU states to agree to scrap an agreement on 2020 emissions targets that was reached in June.