Climate Change

Right-wing victors in European election seek to scrap 2035 ban on combustion engines

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Published

June 11, 2024

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Published:

June 11, 2024

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The success of right-wing parties and the weakening of the Greens in the European election have raised concerns about the future of the European Green Deal. As soon as the results were in, Manfred Weber, leader of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), said the party would immediately push to scrap the 2035 ban on the sale of cars with internal combustion engines.

Weber added, however, that there would be no revision of the Green Deal as a whole, as most of the laws under the package have already passed the European Parliament. At the same time, Czech MEP Alexandr Vondra said that Europe’s climate policy would become more “realistic” over the next five years, according to Politico.

The 2035 ban on combustion engines “needs to go”

Peter Liese, the EPP’s lead climate lawmaker, said the election results justified the party’s vision for a less restrictive Green Deal and he specifically mentioned the plan to overturn the combustion engine ban. “We’ll need to make some adjustments. The ban on combustion engines — that needs to go,” said Liese, as the EPP announced it had won the most seats in the European Parliament.

The EPP plans to make adjustments to the European Green Deal, but stay on track to achieve net zero emissions by 2050

Liese also said that despite the planned scrapping of the ban, there would be no backsliding in terms of the EU’s climate targets for 2050.

Politico noted, however, that even scrapping the ban might not be that easy given that the EPP’s lead candidate, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was the one who introduced the ban and backed it while campaigning for a second term.

Efforts to cut farming emissions might also be hampered

Apart from the EU’s ban on cars with combustion engines, another area of the Green Deal that might be affected is agriculture, which the EPP has pledged to protect from more aggressive climate regulation, Politico noted.

This is despite warnings by independent science advisers that the EU must not only maintain the existing policies but do much more, especially on farming emissions.

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