On 10 September 2018, the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, which is responsible for this Directive Proposal, decided in favour of ambitious targets covering higher CO2 emission limits than comprised in the proposal presented by the Commission. From the Chamber of Labour’s point of view, this is a positive development as the Commission’s proposal does not contain enough ambitious measures to reduce passenger car emissions. The opinion of the Committee on Transport and Tourism would have provided for even weaker targets than the Commission proposal. Hence, the Chamber of Labour welcomes the decision of the Committee on Environment, even if there is room for improvement.
In order to achieve the climate change policy requirements in 2030, to affect fuel savings for consumers and to increase the competitiveness of the European automotive industry, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation on CO2 standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles at the end of last year. With regard to measures, the European Commission proposes among other a reduction of CO2 emissions of 15 % for 2025 and of 30 % for 2030 for newly registered passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (based on year 2021). In contrast, the opinion, which the advisory Committee on Transport and Tourism presented on 4 September, provides for a lower reduction target of 20 % for 2030.
The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, responsible, did not follow this recommendation. Voting in the plenary sessions on 10 September in Strasbourg, a majority of MEPs came out in favour of the proposal submitted by Social Democrats, Greens and the Left. Hence, the proposal submitted by the Conservatives (10 % for 2025 and 20 % for 2030) was defeated, whilst the Committee on Environment voted in favour of reduction targets of 20 % for 2025 and of 45 % for 2030. A significant increase compared to the Commission proposal!
From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour, the decision by the Committee on Environment and the increase of the reduction targets represent a positive development and are a step in the right direction to provide necessary impulses, both with regard to environmental as well as labour market policy. As welcome as the ambitious targets of the European Parliament are, their limits are still not sufficient! The Chamber of Labour calculates that, as the fleet of passenger cars in the Member States is gradually renewed and the mileage is constantly increased, the reduction targets for newly registered passenger cars have to start from 25% as early as 2025, to actually achieve a reduction of the entire fuel consumption.
In a council working group meeting on the 20th September 2018, the council’s position was further negotiated. Eleven countries (e.g. the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Malta, Denkmark, Finland and Sweden) supported a proposal for reduction targets of 40 % to 70 % for 2030. However, the council presidency, represented by the austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Elisabeth Köstinger, proposed a compromise agreement of 35 % for 2030, as the Ö1 morning journal reported.
Regarding this Directive, a debate has been scheduled for 2 October and the vote for 3 October in the European Parliament. The trilogue negotiations with the Commission will begin once the positions have been fixed in European Parliament and Council. The Chamber of Labour will continue to be a strong advocate for ensuring that Parliament will continue this first progressive step and that measures will be implemented, which do justice to the forthcoming massive structural change in the automotive industry and the climate policy challenges.