BERLIN — German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Tuesday he does not support his government’s agreed position in favor of an EU-wide ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.
Speaking at a conference of the German industry lobby, the BDI, in Berlin on Tuesday, Lindner said the EU draft policy – a key part of the bloc’s bid to cut emissions and become climate neutral – was “wrong” and that the German government “will not agree to this EU legislation this week”.
Last summer, the European Commission proposed to impose a total phase-out of all new combustion-engined cars and vans by 2035, meaning industry would have to effectively go electric by middle of the next decade.
Lindner’s Free Democrats have spoken out against the plan, but the legislation is being handled by the Greens, who lead the environment ministry. The tripartite government agreed in March to back the Commission’s draft proposal on emission standards for cars and vans for 2035.
Greens environment minister Steffi Lemke quickly rejected Lindner’s bid to change the national stance on a critical issue for Germany’s flagship industry.
In an emailed statement, she said the federal government should stick to its “previously agreed path” and backtrack by setting a phase-out date. “In the transport sector, we need planning certainty for the automotive industry and decisive steps that can reduce CO2 emissions,” she said.
Lindner, a sports car fan who supports the development of synthetic fuels, has now said he opposes EU legislation.
“Germany will not be able to accept fleet limits with the de facto ban on internal combustion engines,” he told the conference.
In a Tweeter shortly after making the comments, he was less adamant about blocking the government’s agreed position, instead pushing for the development of alternative fuels.
The European Parliament approved the Zero Emissions Mandate 2035 earlier this month. The Council is due to make a final call at a meeting of European climate and environment ministers on June 28.
This article has been updated to add a comment from Environment Minister Steffi Lemke.