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EU ban on fossil fuels cars not on summit agenda – German official

BERLIN, March 22 (Reuters) – The EU’s planned ban on new combustion engines from 2035 is not on the agenda of the upcoming EU summit but talks between the European Commission and Berlin about their differences over the plan are “very constructive”, a German government official said.

“We are confident that we will soon come to a solution,” the official said ahead of the two-day meeting in Brussels starting on Thursday. “The discussions are very, very constructive.”

After months of negotiations, the European Parliament, the Commission and European Union member states agreed last year to the law that would require new cars sold in the EU from 2035 to have zero CO2 emissions – effectively making it impossible to sell combustion engine cars from that date.

But Germany this month declared its last-minute opposition in an unusual move that sparked indignation among some EU diplomats. It wants sales of new cars with internal combustion engines to be allowed after that date if they run on e-fuels.

The official reiterated Germany’s position that this was part of the EU’s original agreement – “that is sometimes forgotten”.

“There is nothing negative about the fact we are insisting on this,” the official said. “This is completely normal European procedure”.

The topics officially on the summit agenda are support for Ukraine – notably the coordinated procurement of ammunition -, EU competitiveness and proposals for a revamp of power market rules, the official said.

The EU should show it stood for free and fair trade by continuing to conclude free trade agreements with other regions such as South America’s Mercosur and countries like Kenya, Australia, India and Indonesia, the official said.

“We are in competition with China here, so it is in our interest to remain ahead and push for a rules-based, fair approach,” the official added.

A discussion with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres would also focus on the impact of the Ukraine crisis on the global south, most notably on food security.

Reporting by Sarah Marsh and Andreas Rinke
Editing by Madeline Chambers and Elaine Hardcastle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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