ARCHIV - 07.06.2022, Berlin: Christian Lindner (FDP), Bundesminister der Finanzen, gibt ein Statement zur Übergewinnsteuer im Finanzministerium. Lindner hat die jüngsten Aussagen von Umweltministerin Lemke zum EU-weiten Aus für Verbrennermotoren zurückgewiesen. (zu dpa «Lindner widerspricht Lemke bei Aus für Verbrenner ab 2035») Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

In the middle of the negotiations at EU level, the federal government settled the dispute within the coalition about the planned end of combustion cars from 2035. As a government spokesman announced on Tuesday, the EU Commission had promised to submit a proposal that would allow combustion cars to be registered after 2035 under certain conditions.

This involves the use of synthetic fuels in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. The FDP has apparently prevailed in the dispute with the Greens.

The end of diesel and petrol engines by 2035 proposed by the EU Commission is just one of several areas of conflict in the traffic light coalition – from Corona policy to the pace of arms deliveries to Ukraine.

With regard to the end of combustion engines, the German head of department Steffi Lemke (Greens) had signaled immediately before the start of the deliberations of the EU environment ministers in Luxembourg that she would agree to the end of combustion engines by 2035. At the same time, she only mentioned exceptions for special vehicles such as fire engines. The Liberals, on the other hand, insist that synthetic fuels, so-called e-fuels, can be used in all standard cars for longer than 2035.

Before the final vote by the EU environment ministers on the entire climate package, it was said on Tuesday evening from EU diplomatic circles that a majority of the EU states supported the opening desired by Germany when it came to the end of combustion engines. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said in the evening that the internal coalition agreement meant that the ban on internal combustion engines was “off the table”.

The day got off to a turbulent start. No sooner had Lemke spoken out in favor of allowing only a few exceptions to the ban on combustion engines after 2035 – for example for fire-fighting vehicles – when FDP leader Christian Lindner spoke up. The statements made by the Environment Minister on the combustion engine off were “surprising” and “did not correspond to the agreements,” Lindner said on Twitter.

The FDP leader also recalled the condition that the liberals had set in the dispute over the planned fundamental end for combustion engines in more than a decade: combustion engines with CO2-free fuels, according to Lindner, “should be used as a technology in all vehicles after 2035 to be possible”.

The coalition dispute that Lemke and Lindner started with their statements revolves around climate-friendly synthetic fuels. The FDP sees this as a future technology which, from their point of view, should make it possible to use combustion engines for longer.

On the other hand, the EU Commission has set a strict time limit of 2035 for the end of all combustion engines. The EU Parliament has also approved this line. However, the proposal can only become law if a majority of the 27 member states are on board.

The dispute between the Greens and the FDP also prompted Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) at the G7 summit in Elmau to clarify his support for Lindner on the issue. The federal government wants to make it possible “after 2035 that cars with CO2-neutral technologies with e-fuels can also be registered,” said the Chancellor.

In view of the criticism from the FDP and the clarification from Scholz, Lemke then rowed back during the start of the consultations in Luxembourg. In the meantime, the traffic light coalition had agreed on a coordinated proposal, according to which not only the fundamental end of combustion engines from 2035 was advocated. There was also talk of the order to the EU Commission to allow combustion engines powered by e-fuels to be approved. This exception has been “very important” for the German position, said Lemke.

The future of the internal combustion engine is part of several planned legislative projects to reduce EU-wide carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, which the French EU Presidency in Luxembourg wants to have voted on as a package.

The negotiations in Luxembourg are complicated by the fact that the controversial plans to extend trading in CO2 pollution rights to buildings and transport are also on the agenda of the Council of Ministers. The federal government had recently surprisingly made the demand to significantly reduce the multi-billion dollar climate social fund, which is intended to provide financial compensation for socially disadvantaged households.