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20 Mar 2023
Germany formed an opposition coalition, while France supported the bill and criticized the move of the neighboring country.
“We are ready to fight for that, because this (delay) is an environmental mistake and I think it is also an economic mistake,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info, March 13.
Mr. Le Maire’s comments are said to have sparked a conflict over a draft law banning the sale of petrol and diesel cars from after 2035 – an important part of the EU’s green schedule.
The German government, with the backing of seven other countries, threatened to block the draft from becoming law at the last minute. Opponents will only change if new regulations allow cars to use new alternative fuels – e-fuel, a synthetic and cleaner form of fuel than fossil fuels, can be used in internal combustion engines.
The ministers of the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia met earlier this week to find a way to save the line of internal combustion engines. Meanwhile, Paris has no intention of interfering.
The German protest was sparked by the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a member of the coalition that runs the German Transport Ministry, whose minister is also a member of the FDP. The switch to electric vehicles could sound the death knell for hundreds of companies that specialize in supplying parts and accessories for internal combustion engines that aren’t needed in the electric vehicle world.
There is also the existential worry that the switch to electric vehicles will open Europe to attacks from Chinese automakers, which are at the forefront of battery technology and electric vehicle production. In recent years, more and more Chinese electric car brands have found their way into the European market.
The German government is in discussions with the European Commission (EC) about a potential deal. One possible solution for the EC is to declare that synthetic fuels are allowed to be used in cars after 2035, but that would mean blocking environmental goals.
Le Maire wants European automakers to quickly switch to electric vehicles and strongly supports government programs for electric vehicles, as well as the EU’s efforts to pour billions of dollars into creating the battery industry.
Sharing a front with France are countries such as Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
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