Eight countries push back against tough EU emissions limits

Reuters reported on 23 May that France, Italy and the Czech Republic are among eight countries pushing to weaken new EU emissions limits for cars.

Jacek dylag mmar Xs8 mk unsplash

According to the report, the countries in question are saying: “They [the emission limits] are overly ambitious and unrealistic for automakers to hit.”

European Union countries and lawmakers are preparing to negotiate the Euro 7 regulation which will tighten vehicle emission limits for pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, from 2025.

In a joint paper sent to other EU members and seen by Reuters, the eight countries said parts of the law, including curbs on exhaust pipe emissions, should be scrapped entirely.

"We oppose any new exhaust emission rules (including new testing requirements or new emission limits) for cars and vans," stated the paper, which was signed by France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

The countries said these limits would force carmakers to invest in improving exhaust emissions performance, money which would be better spent on developing zero-emission vehicles.

Taken together, the countries would have enough votes to block the proposal.

The European Commission says the rules – which apply only to new vehicles, not those already on the roads – are needed to cut health-damaging emissions and prevent a repeat of the so-called Dieselgate scandal, where companies cheated the rules.

The law will also toughen emissions testing, requiring carmakers to use on-board pollution monitoring systems.

Countries, including Italy and the Czech Republic, are home to large automotive industries, and the governments' stance aligns with some carmakers’ criticisms of Euro 7.

Czech carmaker, Skoda, has warned of 3,000 job losses should the proposal go ahead, while Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares, has labelled parts of Euro 7 as "useless".

The law will also curb pollution from brakes and tyres for the first time.

The eight states also sought other changes, including later deadlines for when the rules kick in.

The EU has already agreed that by 2035, all new cars sold in the bloc must have zero CO2 emissions. That law was eventually approved this year after pushback from countries including Germany, which won an exemption for cars running on e-fuels.

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