EU News/Updates Jan 2022

Parliament split over ICE phaseout trajectory


The Commission’s proposed phase-out of internal combustion engines by 2035, as well as the 2020s trajectory in the run-up to this goal, continue to divide Parliament as work on the file advances, with amendment deadlines now having passed for all 3 committees.

ENVI rapporteur Jan Huitema (Renew, NL) and TRAN opinion rapporteur Petar Vitanov (S&D, BG) have both proposed more ambitious targets for the 2020s, including a new 2027 interim target, whereas ITRE opinion rapporteur Dominique Riquet (Renew, FR) has opted for a weakened report compared to the Commission proposal, calling for the decision on a possible ban to only come in 2027.

Debates on the file were held on 13 (ENVI) and 25 (TRAN) January. Overall, S&D and Greens back an ambitious course, with Conservatives fighting against higher ambition and for a “technology neutral” approach, and Renew and Left both split on the issue.

We have prepared comprehensive reports on both debates for you – you can download them here (ENVI) and here (TRAN).

AFIR: momentum for higher targets, strict credit card obligations

Similar to car CO2 standards, progress is also being made on AFIR. We have prepared for you a report on a recent debate in ENVI on the file, where opinion rapporteur Vondra (ECR, CZ) has called for more “flexibility” for member states in reaching their targets (i.e. he proposed delaying the targets by 3 years).

TRAN Rapporteur Ismail Ertug (S&D, DE) will officially present his report towards the end of the month. From what we gather from our monitoring and outreach, Ertug seems to plan on, similar to the ITRE opinion of Michael Bloss (Greens, DE), ramping up the obligations on credit card payment significantly. Ertug will also likely propose introducing significantly higher capacity targets, which may be designed in a degressive way as EV uptake progresses, and aligning the TEN-T comprehensive with the core network targets.

Euro 7 emission standards delayed to July

The European Commission has again delayed publication of its revised Euro 7 vehicle pollutant standards until July 2022. The proposal will set the level of permitted non-CO2 tailpipe emissions (e.g. nitrogen emissions) for cars, trucks, buses and vans, but likely also also cover battery durability, brake wear emission and microplastics emissions from tires.

The proposal had initially been foreseen for late 2021, but after multiple delays amid negative lobbying from parts of the automotive industry, carmaker lobby ACEA now says that given the new timeline, carmakers will not be able to commit to implementing the new standards by 2025, as previously planned.

Timmermans exchanges views with TRAN Committee

On 13 January, Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, who leads the EU’s work on the Green Deal, visited Parliament’s Transport Committee to present the package and take questions from MEPs.

He stressed, inter alia, the needs to quickly roll out charging infrastructure for EVs, as well as the importance of re-skilling and jobs in taking full advantage of the transition, while defending the package against criticism over its supposed negative impact on EU competitiveness.

We have prepared a full summary of the debate, available here.

France takes over Council presidency

With the beginning of the new year, France has officially taken over the rotating Council presidency. According to its work programme, the presidency aims to “accelerate” negotiations on batteries legislation, “actively pursue the work” on the Commission’s proposals to strengthen the EU’s framework on alternative fuels infrastructure, and continue work on car CO2 standards, where France is a lead advocate for maintaining a continued role for hybrids.

Draft report on ETS delays application to transport and buildings by 2 years

On 14 January, rapporteur Peter Liese (EPP, DE) made available his draft report on the reform of the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). The draft includes a proposal for a compromise on carbon pricing for transport and heating, introducing an opt-out clause allowing countries to delay the introduction of a carbon price for private homes and cars by two years to 2027.

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