Transport ministers and carmakers warn against overly stringent EU emissions standard

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BERLIN/WOLFSBURG (dpa-AFX) – German Transport Minister Volker Wissing and representatives of the car industry have warned the EU Commission against too tough regulation and possible job cuts in connection with the planned standard of Euro 7 emissions. “Regulation must promote mobility, not prevent it,” Wissing told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur in Berlin on Monday. He said that systematic deficiencies due to new rules not only endanger the further increase of e-mobility, but increasingly also jobs. “If vehicles become more and more expensive without more environmental protection being associated with them, mobility will become a luxury item,” criticized the FDP politician. “We need participation in the area through individual mobility – also in the future.”

Manufacturers and industry associations had already repeatedly stated that the introduction of the technology required to comply with stricter limits on nitrogen oxide emissions would be too demanding in terms of time and it is likely to make cars more expensive – especially smaller models in relation to the overall price. The Commission presented its proposals in November.

There is a fear that a corresponding reduction in demand for combustion engines could also lead to the disappearance of a number of jobs. Volkswagen stressed: “We share the assessment that Euro 7 in its current form would have negative effects on jobs for the European car industry.” Environmental organizations, on the other hand, are calling for the end of classic diesel and gasoline engines as soon as possible.

According to the Brussels-based EU authority, road traffic is the biggest source of air pollution in cities. The new standard is intended to ensure cleaner vehicles and better air quality to protect the health of citizens and the environment. Euro 7 aims to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from cars by 35 percent by 2035, and by more than 50 percent for buses and the trucks. NOx compounds were also at the center of the emissions scandal, which resulted in several cities imposing partial diesel driving bans.

“When the car industry warns that regulation makes vehicles unnecessarily expensive and hinders the acceleration of e-mobility, it should be taken very seriously,” said Wissing. “The EU Commission cannot on the one hand demand high targets for climate protection and on the other hand prevent their achievement through regulation.” He added that the internal combustion engine can also combine climate protection and mobility with synthetic fuels: “Europe should not prevent this technological solution”.

The car states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony had asked the German government not to accept the current plans for Euro 7. They fear there would be significant disadvantages for the industry if they were implemented, according to a letter from -state premiers to Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) obtained by dpa. The directive should apply to newly registered vehicles from July 2025. The European Parliament and the EU states must approve the proposals, and negotiations are ongoing. In theory, the concept of the Commission could still change.

In an open letter to EU leaders, the chairman of the European car industry association Acea, Renault CEO Luca de Meo, mentioned an expected cost increase for vehicles due to the Euro 7 of between seven and ten percent. As a result, up to 300,000 jobs could be at risk. The German industry association VDA and individual companies were also critical of the plan.

Volkswagen also spoke of “completely unrealistic time targets” – manufacturers and authorities could not implement them as quickly as necessary. The strictness of the standards binds “large personnel and financial resources that we can use in a more sensible and future-oriented way for electrification.” The price estimates quoted by de Meo are correct.

The car industry also complains that the criteria for emissions tests under the new standards are too specific. “Air quality is not helped if we measure the exhaust emissions of a new combustion engine at full throttle and a horse carriage in first gear on a mountain pass in the Alps all things,” VW said. Real-world use looks different – while the new exhaust technology required is likely to make “especially cheap small cars much more expensive.”

A BMW spokesman told the trade journal “Automobilwoche”: “Euro7 should primarily regulate pollutants and not be instrumentalized for an earlier end of the combustion engine. This would make the product range unnecessarily more expensive .” Some experts also emphasize that overly ambitious cleaning technology will have an impact, especially on small cars, and they anticipate more “elitist” mobility in the future.

Greenpeace has called for car makers to help zero-emission powertrains gain a breakthrough in the coming years. “If Wissing wants to ensure long-term job security in the industry, he must do everything he can to put the German car industry at the forefront of the mobility revolution,” said the transport expert. Benjamin Stephan. “More ambitious emissions standards will help.”/hoe/DP/stw

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