In its proposal last year concerning the reduction targets of CO2 emissions for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles, the European Commission recommended a reduction of 30 % by 2030, which was criticised in many quarters as insufficient. The European Parliament voted on this issue on 3 October 2018 and agreed on a reduction of 40 % by 2030. In doing so, the European Parliament meets its environmental responsibility and decides to promote and support innovative and sustainable developments within the European Union. On 9 October 2018, the Council also clarified its position: according to the majority of EU environment ministers, a reduction of 35% by 2030 would be sufficient.
The debate of the European Parliament on 2 October 2018 in Strasbourg on the submitted Regulation on CO2 standards for new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles focussed on two issues: environmental protection and innovation. On the one hand, it was hotly debated which measures and reduction targets had to be set to realize climate policy requirements and to fulfil the environmental responsibility towards the citizens of the European Union. The other key topic was the imminent structural change in the automotive industry and its impact. During the debate, a majority of MEPs came out in favour of higher reduction targets to stimulate investments in clean cars and batteries within the European Union instead of leaving this market to other global trade operators. Apart from a competitive advantage, this would also safeguard jobs in the automotive industry.
In September already, the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety responsible had agreed a reduction target of 45 % by 2030. As this even stricter target did not gain a majority in the European Parliament, the rapporteur Miriam Dalli (S&D) held intensive behind-the-scene negotiations prior to the vote. In the end, the compromise proposal by S&D and ALDE of 40 % by 2030 with an interim target of 20 % by 2025 gained the majority. The EPP had regarded a target of 35 % by 2030 as sufficient.
Parallel to Parliament, the Council too negotiated its position on this dossier. Prior to the decisive meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg. 11 Member States demanded a reduction target between 40 % and 70 % by 2030. However, Germany did not want to go beyond a reduction of 30 %. The compromise of the Council, achieved under the Austrian Presidency lies at 15 % by 2025 and 35 % by 2030, which, compared to Parliament, is significantly less ambitious.
The forthcoming trilogue negotiations now have the task of bringing the three deviating positions of Council, Parliament and Commission down to a common denominator. These are to begin before the end of October. The AK continues to be in favour of a progressive emission reduction of 40 % by 2030, to meet both the climate policy challenges as well as the economic structural challenges in a far-sighted and responsible manner.