The Czech Republic insists on synthetic fuels, otherwise it will not support the ban on internal combustion engines

The Czech Republic insists on synthetic fuels, otherwise it will not support the ban on internal combustion engines

The Czech Republic insists on synthetic fuels, otherwise it will not support the ban on internal combustion engines

Czech Minister of Transport Martin Kupka (left) discussed with his German colleague Volker Wissing about mutual transport connections and the upcoming Euro 7 emission standard, March 3, 2023, Berlin.

Berlin – The Czech Republic will not support a ban on the sale of new passenger cars with internal combustion engines in the European Union, unless it is possible to use synthetic fuels in cars. Czech Minister of Transport Martin Kupka announced this today in Berlin after a meeting with his German colleague Volker Wissing. He said that the Czech Republic will proceed together with Germany in this matter. He also stated that both Prague and Berlin consider the current draft of the upcoming EU emission standard Euro 7 to be unrealistic and unacceptable.

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“Even the Czech Republic will not support the ban on the sale of new passenger vehicles with internal combustion engines after 2035, unless the condition, which the Czech Republic participated in during the Czech presidency, is not clear, namely allowing the combustion of synthetic fuels in internal combustion engines,” Kupka told Czech journalists. “This is a key condition that we share, and we will move in this direction together,” he emphasized.

The Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU announced today that the ambassadors of the member countries decided to postpone the final approval of the proposal, which would make it practically impossible to buy a new gasoline or diesel car from 2035. “This is a development that we definitely welcome, that we stand behind,” said Kupka. He added that he considers it important that this is not discussed and approved until the solution for internal combustion engines with synthetic fuels is clarified.

“Expectations are clear. Part of the agreement, even within the framework of the Czech presidency, was an exception for internal combustion engines with synthetic fuels. And it was also clearly promised between the German side and (the head of the European Commission) Ursula von der Leyen that until the final approval is discussed, there will be a binding the shape of the condition and the exception for synthetic fuels. As long as the exception is not on the table, even the Czech side will not support the final agreement,” he added.

Ursula von der Leyen will attend a meeting of the federal government at Meseberg Castle in Brandenburg on Sunday Chancellor Olaf Scholz. It can be expected that one of the topics will be combustion engines of passenger cars.

Germany also insists on synthetic fuels. “We need synthetic fuels, if only for the existing vehicle fleet. How are these cars supposed to be climate neutral after 2045, if not with synthetic fuels,” said Wissing in the Bundestag today. “The European Commission assured us in November that it would find a way to use climate-friendly synthetic fuels in newly registered passenger cars in the long term, i.e. after 2035,” he added.

Kupka and Wissing also discussed the draft emission standard for Euro 7 motor vehicles, to which the federal government, regional governments, the automotive industry and car clubs are all critical. “We agreed on the unequivocal opposition and criticism of the current draft of the Euro 7 standard. It is unrealistic and not acceptable, both for the Czech Republic and for Germany,” said the Czech Minister of Transport.

Today, Wissing also spoke about the standard in the Bundestag, where he stated that it is necessary to look at the proposal thoroughly again. “The new emission standard must not threaten jobs or make transport a luxury matter. As it is now planned, it would make especially smaller cars disproportionately expensive,” he said. “Nobody can seriously want that,” he added.

The Czech Republic and Germany want to speed up the modernization of the line from Pilsen to Munich

By the end of this summer, the Czech Republic and Germany will prepare a memorandum on speeding up the modernization of the line between Pilsen and Munich. Czech Minister of Transport Martin Kupka and his German colleague Volker Wissing agreed on this today in Berlin. Kupka told Czech journalists that as one of the arguments for the importance of this connection, he mentioned in an interview with Wissing the possible construction of a factory for the production of batteries, which the Volkswagen concern could build near Pilsen.

The connection between Prague and Munich via Pilsen is inadequate in its current form and, according to critics, unworthy of the 21st century. The train covers the 430 kilometer long route from the Czech capital to the Bavarian capital in 5.5 hours. While preparations for modernization are progressing in the Czech Republic, they are stalling on the Bavarian side. This is also due to the fact that Germany does not consider this project to be nearly as important as Prague sees it. However, according to Kupka, the upcoming cooperation memorandum should speed up modernization on both the Czech and German sides.

“I am convinced that even after today's debate, we have put other key arguments on the table. In addition to the planned Ore Mountains tunnel, the Czech Republic needs another capacity connection towards Germany and Western Europe,” said Kupka. “At the moment when, in addition, a gigafactory near Pilsen would start to grow, I believe that this would mean a further acceleration of the important connection towards Germany,” he said.

Even without the aforementioned factory for the production of batteries, the track to According to Kupka, Munich has great potential for passenger and freight transport. “The Czech Republic currently has the only high-capacity two-track electrified connection with Germany, and that is near Hřensk – Bad Schandau. We are preparing the Ore Mountains connection, but we also need a connection to Bavaria,” he said.

The aforementioned tunnel under the Ore Mountains is to be part of a high-speed line that will allow trains to travel at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour. The driving time from Prague to Ústí nad Labem should be reduced by roughly half to 30 minutes. The journey from the Czech capital to Dresden would then take an hour and to Berlin 2.5 hours.

The existing line between Prague and Dresden is at the peak of its capacity, and the modernization of the section in the Elbe valley on the Saxon side has also become a traffic problem , which will last until 2025. However, Germany has promised to significantly ease traffic restrictions this year.

“At the end of the first quarter, that is between the end of March and the first of April, it should return to that line again in freight and passenger transport on a much larger scale, the conditions for all carriers will improve significantly,” said Kupka. “I believe that the German side will fulfill the agreement. So far we have no news that it should become more complicated,” he added.

Kupka stated that not only Czech carriers but also The Czech Republic itself. “The Czech Republic is half dependent on diesel imports from Hamburg, so this railway connection is a bottleneck,” he added.