European Union member states decided on Friday morning to postpone a vote to ratify an EU-wide ban on the sale of new combustion engine cars after 2035, reflecting growing discontent over one of the key measures to achieve climate neutrality by mid-century.
The ban was designed as a gradual transition and proposes that all new vehicles sold across the EU market after 2035 should have a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions, which would effectively exclude all cars that run on petrol and diesel.
Friday’s vote by EU ambassadors was supposed to be a mere formality after the bloc’s two co-legislators, the EU Council and the European Parliament, had reached in October a provisional agreement that kept the 2035 deadline intact.
The Parliament rubberstamped the law last month with 340 out of 640 MEPs voting in favour. The legislation was then passed on to ambassadors for the final green light.
But as the vote approached, a number of member states intensified their opposition.
Germany, Italy, Poland and Bulgaria are among those who in recent weeks expressed concerns regarding the far-reaching measure, Euronews understands.
Together, the four countries would have been able to mount a so-called “blocking minority,” using either abstention or rejection votes.
It’s unclear how many more countries were willing to vote down the law.
Last summer, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania called for the ban to be delayed from 2035 to 2040, pleading for more time to adapt the existing infrastructure.
Back then, their joint push failed to gain enough traction, but on Friday, the odds shifted.
With the outcome appearing increasingly uncertain, Sweden, which currently chairs the rotating EU Council presidency, decided to postpone the vote.
Ambassadors will “revert to the issue in due time,” a Swedish spokesperson said on Friday morning, without providing any specific date.
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