Combustion engine phase-out is and remains wrong, but German Liberals woke up too late / No short-term solution in sight / The dispute will weigh on the EU summit, but the summit will not bring a solution / Damage goes far beyond climate and environmental policy

“The EU institutions' decision to phase out the internal combustion engine is and remains wrong. Politics should only set targets and not ban certain technologies. Climate-neutral e-fuels should be part of the solution,” affirmed the environmental policy spokesperson of the largest group in the European Parliament (EPP, Christian Democrats) Peter Liese. Nevertheless, Liese massively criticised the approach of the German Federal Minister for Transport Volker Wissing and the German Liberals: “Mr Wissing and the Liberals in the government have agreed to the combustion engine phase-out three times at European level. Firstly, in June in the Council of Ministers; secondly, in October after the trilogue, when Wissing literally stated that he welcomed the EU's decision to phase out the internal combustion engine1; and thirdly, in November, when the German government agreed to the compromise in the Committee of the Permanent Representatives to the EU after consulting the Ministry of Transport. The current uproar is not justified by a change of facts, but is a purely political manoeuvre after the disastrous election result in Berlin for the FDP. This is not the way to do politics in Europe. The damage goes far beyond environmental and climate policy. In the future, every member state will be able to call everything into question again after the negotiations have been concluded and after it has been agreed several times. This can affect Germany massively, because we depend much more on a functioning European Union, especially a functioning internal market, than other member states.”

Liese does not expect the dispute to be resolved in the short term: “In Brussels, nobody expects the dispute to be resolved before the European Council this week. It will overshadow the Council but it cannot be solved at the EU summit, because unanimity is required here, and that cannot be expected in any case," said the environmental politician.