The European Parliament on Thursday determined its position in the upcoming negotiations with the European member states for the introduction of the new Euro 7 standard. This should be the successor to the Euro 6 standard, which was introduced in the aftermath of dieselgate. It determines how much air pollutants (such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter) cars and vans with combustion engines may still emit by the end of 2025.
At first it seemed that Europe would tighten the standard again, but the automotive sector resisted, arguing that the new standard would bring relatively little environmental benefit and at the same time require a lot of investment. That money could be better spent developing electric cars, said Luca De Meo, CEO of Renault and chairman of the European Federation of Car Manufacturers, Acea.
European policymakers now appear to be following that line of reasoning. Now that Parliament has determined its position, negotiations with the Member States can begin to finalize the final standard. In response, Acea asks for ‘realism’ to prevail. But dissatisfaction dominates among the Green and Social Democratic groups in Parliament. “Euro-7 is a copy of the Euro-6 standard, there is almost no environmental or health benefit,” says Green MEP Sara Matthieu. “While the United States and China are tightening their standards and putting the health of their citizens first, European manufacturers are being given a free pass to sell polluting cars here.”
MEP Kathleen Van Brempt (Vooruit) also criticizes the ‘victory of the car lobby at the expense of health and air quality’. She refers to research by the environmental umbrella organization Transport & Environment, which previously established that profits at the major car manufacturers – just like the payments to shareholders – are peaking. “The fact that the same car industry is now saying that there is no room to invest in clean cars is extremely cynical,” she concludes.(K the)