German Finance Minister Christian Lindner is currently at the center of a controversy in the German media over alleged conversations he allegedly had with the head of Porsche about the government’s policy on climate-friendly cars.
On Friday, German public broadcaster ZDF’s satirical news program ‘Die Anstalt’ aired a quote allegedly from Porsche boss Oliver Blume saying at a company meeting in June that he had had contacts repeated with Lindner about the e-fuels policy to be included in Germany’s ruling coalition deal. .
“We played an important role in getting e-fuels included in the coalition agreement,” reads the quote, displayed on a screen alongside a photo of Blume.
“We were a main driving force, with very close contact with the coalition parties. Christian Lindner has been updating me almost hourly over the past few days,” he added.
Why is electronic fuel important?
E-fuels are considered a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels intended to replace gasoline in traditional combustion engines and are produced from renewable energy, water and CO2.
Germany’s coalition government, which brings together the pro-business Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Liberal Democrats (FDP), signed its governing agreement last December.
Part of the deal pledges to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles before an EU ban comes into force in 2035. The coalition also pledged to have 15 million cars electric cars on the road by 2030.
Electric fuel is made by using electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen before adding CO2
At the end of June, there had been a dispute within the coalition over a ban on new registrations of thermal cars from 2035 at EU level.
At the time, Lindner rejected the ban on internal combustion, arguing that there would continue to be “niches for combustion engines”.
How did Lindner and Porsche react?
On its official Twitter account, the Finance Minister’s FDP team published that “Lindner’s position on e-fuels has been known for years”.
“As a result, in June he commented on the EU’s planned end of combustion engines. There was no prior contact with Mr Blume and no other influence,” the message read.
An FDP spokesman later clarified that during the coalition negotiations in October, there had been “only a brief telephone conversation” between Blume and the future finance minister on “questions about the use of e-fuels”.
On Sunday, a Porsche spokesman told Germany Welt am Sonntag newspaper that “exaggerations” were made “as part of an internal event”.
“The choice of words does not correspond to the facts. The exchange did not take place and there was no influence,” the spokesperson said.
Blume told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday that he had “chosen the wrong words” at the company event.
“It gave the wrong impression. I’m sorry,” he said.
In April, Porsche increased its investment in the development of e-fuels to 75 million dollars (73.4 million euros). Blume is expected to become Volkswagen Group CEO in September.
wmr/dj (AFP, Reuters)