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Low emission zone in Munich: Resistance to stricter regulations

Photo: Sachelle Babbar / ZUMA Wire / IMAGO

The Federal Ministry for the Environment is pushing for the controversial Euro 7 emissions standard to be launched within the next twelve months. The ministry is committed to the adoption of Euro 7 in this legislative period of the European Parliament, said a spokeswoman. Criticism from other EU states of the project "does not want to join the BMUV," it said.

Thus, the Ministry of the Environment, led by the Green Party Steffi Lemke, openly opposes the coalition partner FDP. Transport Minister Volker Wissing said on Thursday at a meeting of EU transport ministers that he sees himself closely connected to other critical EU states. The minister stressed: "I think it is a mistake to present a Euro 7 regulation now and thus cause considerable costs for the automotive industry and also for those in the commercial vehicle sector."

Abrasion of brakes and tires also counts

In November, the EU Commission made proposals for a revision of pollutant limits such as nitrogen oxides. Another new feature of the planned Euro 7 standard is that pollutants such as particulate matter caused by tire abrasion and brakes are to be regulated in the future. This means that electric cars and hydrogen vehicles would also be affected by the rules. EU states and the European Parliament still have to negotiate the project and agree on a common line. It is currently envisaged that the rules for passenger cars will come into force in 2025 and for trucks and buses in 2027.

The project is being led by the Ministry of the Environment. However, if the German government cannot agree on a common line, Germany would probably have to abstain from a possible vote among the EU states. Since other EU countries have already announced resistance to the project, a majority is currently not in sight.

In a joint position paper, Italy, France and six eastern EU states had openly expressed their criticism of Euro 7. It states, among other things, that all new emissions regulations, including new emission limits for cars and vans, should be deleted. In addition, the deadlines for when the new requirements would have to be implemented would have to be extended.

At least on this point, critics and the German Ministry of the Environment agree: Lemke had already said in February that she was particularly critical of the introduction deadlines envisaged by the EU Commission. In principle, however, the Ministry of the Environment emphasizes: "We need Euro 7 as a significant contribution to improving air quality and as a contribution to meeting current and future air quality limits." Meanwhile, the auto industry is warning of significant price increases for vehicles if the rules become reality.