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German finance minister breaks ranks on EU plans to scrap the car by 2035

BERLIN — Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Tuesday that he does not support his government’s agreed position in support of an EU-wide ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035.

Speaking at a conference of Germany’s industrial lobby, the BDI, in Berlin Tuesday, Lindner said the EU’s draft policy — a key part of the bloc’s bid to slash emissions and go climate neutral — was “wrong” and that the German government “will not agree to this European legislation this week.”

Last summer, the European Commission proposed mandating a total phaseout of all new combustion engine cars and vans by 2035, meaning the industry would effectively have to go electric by the middle of the next decade.

Lindner’s Free Democrats came out against the plan but the legislation is managed by the Greens, who run the environment ministry. The three-party government agreed in March to support the Commission’s draft proposal on 2035 car and van emission standards.

Lindner, a fan of sportscars who supports developing synthetic fuels, now said he opposes the EU legislation.

“Germany will … not be able to agree to the fleet limits with the de facto ban on internal combustion engines,” he said at the conference.

In a tweet shortly after making the comments he was less definitive about blocking the agreed government position, instead pushing for the development of alternative fuels.

The European Parliament signed off on the 2035 zero emissions mandate earlier this month. The Council is due to make a final call at a meeting of EU climate and environment ministers on June 28.

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