Elektromobil connected to the charger – illustrative photo.
Strasbourg/Brussels – The European Parliament has finally approved the agreement with the member states of the European Union on the new standard on zero emissions. It expects that from 2035 it will be practically impossible to buy a new gasoline or diesel car in the member countries. Today, the European Commission came up with a proposal as part of the so-called Green Deal for Europe, which envisages the gradual reduction of emissions from new heavy trucks and the introduction of emission-free city buses.
The vote was preceded by a stormy debate. In it, supporters of the standard emphasized its expected contribution to healthier air and the development of new technologies, while opponents reached for a vision of devastating effects on the automotive industry, European prosperity and the wallets of ordinary people.
“Let's stop the madness!” Jens Gieseke, a German Christian Democrat from the European People's Parliamentary Group, declared about the “combustion engine ban”. He warned that 600,000 jobs depend on the production of combustion engines in Germany alone, which will be at risk.
“The climate package is fair. From 2035 it will be possible to sell only cars with zero emissions. It will also be good for the market,” said Sara Cerdasová from Portugal on behalf of the European Socialists. She added that it is important to invest in new clean technologies. She also argued about the effect of emissions on mortality, while transport is responsible for a quarter of emissions in Europe. “We will create an example for the whole world,” she declared.
“The operating costs of electric cars are already lower than those of cars with a combustion engine,” pointed out the initiator, Dutch MEP Jan Huitema. He believes that the prices of electric cars will also continue to fall and these cars will become affordable.
“Car manufacturers have already made their choice,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is also responsible for the EU's climate policy, pointed out the growing share of electric vehicles in production. “Look at what our competitors are doing. China is making more and more affordable, quality cars. We have to be competitive,” he stressed. The automotive industry, even after its transformation, will need people, but with different skills, he pointed out.
“We have a revolutionary agreement that reconciles cars and the climate,” enthusiastically declared the French MEP from the Green party, Karima Delliová. She admitted, however, that “an electric SUV for 40,000 euros (about 950,000 CZK) is nothing ecological”. clear rules,” emphasized Bas Eickhout from the Netherlands on behalf of the Green club. According to him, even trucks should be 100% clean by 2040.
A completely opposite opinion was presented by Sylvia Limmerová (Alternative for Germany), who drew attention to the emissions from coal-fired power plants and battery production accompanying “clean” cars. “Do you want to vote with those who destroy our welfare or for the citizens?” she appealed to her colleagues.
“The Czech government itself killed an industry that makes up ten percent of the gross domestic product of the Czech Republic,” claimed Kateřina Konečná (KSČM) about the role of the Czech presidency in concluding the December agreement on the new standard. On behalf of the Left in the European Parliament, she also appealed to other MEPs to consider how they will vote. “People and the economy are already in bad enough shape and this could be fatal,” she said.
“We will impoverish the middle class, expand the ranks of the unemployed and upload China. I will vote against (the proposal) in the hope that we will give a chance to competition, which alone guarantees innovation and preserves human freedom,” another Czech MEP, Alexandr Vondra (ODS) from ranks of European conservatives and reformists. After the performance, he received a question from socialist Cerdasová whether he had read the legislative proposal at all. In response, Vondra emphasized that the standard should be technologically neutral.
MEPs from Slovakia, where the automotive industry is also strong, pleaded for a chance for further improvement of internal combustion engines in the debate. “Our goal is to decarbonize Europe, not to deprive it of industry,” said Ivan Štefanec from the ranks of the European People's Party.
The agreement, negotiated at the end of the Czech presidency at the end of last year, has yet to be formally approved by the Council of the EU, representing member states EU states.
Luděk Niedermayer (TOP 09) from the European People's Club called the result of the vote proof that the Czech presidency negotiated a good agreement that won a majority both among the member states and in the EP. If it didn't pass, the car industry wouldn't know what rules would apply, and that would be “devastating”, he stressed.
The EC wants clean city buses and major reductions in truck emissions by 2030
New heavy goods vehicles produced in the European Union should gradually reduce carbon dioxide emissions from 2030 and reduce them by 90 percent in 2040 compared to 2019. At the same time, all new city buses should be completely emission-free from 2030. The proposal that the European Commission came up with as part of the so-called Green Agreement for Europe (Green Deal) takes this into account. For the rules to come into effect, they must be approved by member states and the European Parliament.
According to the commission, truck and bus transport produces six percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the EU and more than a quarter of road transport emissions. As part of its green strategy, Brussels therefore wants, in addition to passenger cars, environmentally cleaner traffic for heavier vehicles as well.
“To achieve our climate and emission-free goals, all transport sectors must actively contribute. Our climate standard takes this into account, our cities that's what they want and our manufacturers are preparing for it,” said Frans Timmermans, vice president of the EU executive today.
According to the commission's ideas, all newly manufactured trucks over 3.5 tons and long-distance buses should reduce CO2 emissions from 2030 by 45 percent against 2019. Five years later, the requirement is to increase to 65 percent and in 2040 to 90 percent.