Senate, Senate meeting – illustrative photo
Prague – If the draft of the new emission standard for Euro 7 motor vehicles is not changed, it may fundamentally threaten the future of the automotive industry in the country and cause serious economic and social impacts. The Senate passed a resolution on this today, when it joined the Czech government's reservations to the standard at the suggestion of its European committee. Transport Minister Martin Kupka (ODS) has already said that the standard is unacceptable for the Czech Republic. During the discussion of the material, the Czech Republic will try to have it reworked, Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan (STAN), who represented the apologized Kupko, told the senators today. The Parliamentary European Committee also shares the government's reservations.
Before the vote, the Austrian thanked the senators for their stance and support of the government's position. “I see it as the government receiving a mandate from the legislature to negotiate improvements to those conditions as such,” he said. According to the senators, the current dates do not reflect the development time of the new engine and do not offer enough time to adapt to the new requirements.
The Czech government considers the plan too ambitious, even though it supports the reduction of emissions from road transport. Among other things, he is concerned that the proposed requirements may increase the price and reduce the availability of some models. As a result, they would limit the contribution of the Euro 7 standard to improving air quality and reducing emissions from road transport in the EU. This is because the high purchase price of vehicles can discourage consumers from purchasing new vehicles, thereby slowing down fleet renewal. The European Commission estimates that the standard will affect the price of new cars in the order of thousands of crowns, manufacturers are talking about tens of thousands. The Senate has the same concerns.
There is no car company that would be able to produce cars according to this regulation, said reporter and senator Jiří Čunek (KDU-ČSL). He pointed out, for example, that the standard also sets emission limits from brakes and tires and that these limits will also apply to electric cars.
Zdeněk Nytra (ODS and TOP 09) drew attention to the fact that all EU residents and the environment are a more vulnerable group than car manufacturers. He recalled the ban on the sale of cars with internal combustion engines from 2035, which, according to him, will lead to the fact that the majority of the population will not be able to afford a new car from 2025. The consequence will be that the average lifespan of cars will be extended and cars that should no longer be driven will be repaired.
However, David Smoljak (STAN) pointed out that this is a proposal that was discussed at the end of January, and not a final decision of the European Commission. “We are talking about a proposal that we are all just receiving for assessment,” he pointed out. Marek Slabý (ODS and TOP 09) warned against an extreme increase in the number of used cars and against the unavailability of small commercial vehicles on the market, which, according to him, will require repairs and extending their lifespan.
On the other hand, Martin Krsek (SEN 21 and Piráti) expressed embarrassment at the fact that the senators are assessing the issue purely through the eyes of the automotive industry and dishonoring the opinion of the European Commission. He spoke about the uncritical adoption of catastrophic car companies' scenarios and pointed out that it is necessary to assess the data of both parties, both Brussels and the car companies. Václav Láska (SEN 21 and Piráti) refused to vote for the proposal. He reasoned that he found some of the speeches of the speakers so destructive and conservative that he decided to vote against them. 59 of the 64 senators present voted for the resolution.
If the rules are approved by member states and the European Parliament, they should apply to new passenger cars from mid-2025, two years later for trucks. The aim of the standard is also to harmonize the limits for petrol and diesel cars. Vehicles will have to comply with it for twice as long as the current standards, and in addition to exhausts, it will also apply to brakes and tires. In addition, the cars should have sensors that allow emissions to be checked at any time. Emission limits are also newly set for previously unregulated pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy goods vehicles. The standard is also supposed to regulate battery life in order to increase consumer confidence in electric cars.
According to the Association of the Automotive Industry, the proposal does not actually provide time for development and adaptation of production, which will cause production interruptions in a number of plants. In addition, the required massive investments will only be usable for a relatively short period of time until 2035, when the EU has banned combustion engines completely, but will significantly limit the available resources for the development and production of completely emission-free vehicles.
The EC emphasizes in the draft of the new regulation , that air pollution continues to pose a major risk to the environment and health in Europe. It is estimated that in 2018, air pollution in the then 28 EU member states caused more than 300,000 premature deaths, according to its material.