Will efforts to ban the combustion engine fall at the final hurdle?
(EurActiv, 2 Mar 2023) With the news that Germany may abstain from a vote on ending the production of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035, the fate of the long-negotiated law on CO2 standards for cars and vans is now uncertain.
What once seemed inevitable – a European Parliament and Council agreement in October 2022 to end the production of petrol and diesel cars – is now teetering on the edge of collapse.
The final step of the legislative process is a formal vote from member states to finalise the deal, provisionally scheduled for 7 March.
This vote is usually considered a formality, as at this stage, countries have already made their intentions clear during internal Council votes attended by national ambassadors to the EU.
A prior meeting of these ambassadors saw one country vote against it and one country abstain. However, unanimity is not required for the law to pass, as the Council operates under a “qualified majority” system.
A qualified majority requires 55% of the EU countries representing 65% of the EU population. A blocking minority must include at least four member states.