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On Sunday, the German government will convene for a closed meeting at Schloss Meseberg. The guest will be an old acquaintance: Ursula von der Leyen. Olaf Scholz had already invited the Commission President in January to talk about overcoming the energy crisis and the challenges for Europe’s competitiveness.
However, the dispute over the phasing out of internal combustion engines, instigated by the FDP shortly before the final vote, is now likely to overshadow von der Leyen’s appearance in Meseberg. In his Feature, Markus Grabitz explains how the conflict could be resolved.
Von der Leyen will then travel on to North America, first to Ottawa and then to Washington. There she will meet US President Joe Biden on Friday. The topics will be similar to those in Meseberg, as the Commission announced in the evening: It will be about “cooperation between the EU and the USA on innovations and secure supply chains for clean technologies“. Von der Leyen is thus traveling behind Olaf Scholz – the chancellor is already arriving in the US today for talks.
“Sunny weather outside, gloomy mood inside,” tweeted Ismail Ertug (S&D) after the trilogue on the Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR). The parliamentary rapporteur accuses the Swedish Council Presidency of delaying the negotiations and not getting its way with the member states. A major sticking point is the expansion of the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles – it is central to the entire regulation. Lukas Scheid summarizes the state of the debate.
In her Column this week, Claire Stam looks at the eastern French town of Belfort, home of MEP Christophe Grudler (Renew). Read what Belfort has to do with French politics, nuclear energy and the upcoming trilogue on the Renewable Energy Directive at the end of our briefing.
E-fuels: FDP wants Commission to present compromise quickly
The FDP-led part of the German government awaits a proposal from the Commission in the dispute over e-fuels. The proposal from Brussels for a compromise should provide for the use of CO2-neutral synthetic fuels in new vehicles beyond 2035, it said. If the proposal fails to materialize, Germany will abstain in the final vote in the Council on CO2-fleet legislation scheduled for Tuesday, including a phase-out of internal combustion engines in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in 2035, according to sources close to Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP).
Since Italy and at least two other member states would also abstain, the informal compromise previously reached by the Council and the EU Parliament in the trilogue procedure would then fail. The FDP has been building up this threatening backdrop for several days. According to information available to Table.Media, Wissing has proposed to the Commission that the text of the law be amended so that even after 2035, vehicles with internal combustion engines may still be newly registered if it can be proven that they are only refueled with e-fuels. A special filler neck on new vehicles could ensure that this condition is met.
Little understanding among SPD and Greens
Originally, the trilogue result was to be voted on at ambassadorial level this Friday. However, the German government has asked for a postponement of the vote.
- Automotive Industry
- Climate & Environment
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