France – who is holding the EU presidency till this December and one of the EU’s largest car producers in Europe together with Germany, Italy, and the UK – has tried to convince EU  governments to water down the proposals and give industry more time and flexibility to meet the targets  “There is a political will to avoid second reading in Parliament,” said a Council source. Indeed, if the dossier is not adopted at first reading, it will need to go through a second round of negotiations. And with the Parliament effectively in recess as of spring 2009 to prepare for the European elections in June, there is little time left for compromise. The negotiating mandate allows the French Presidency to clarify plans that would delay until 2015 a requirement for carmakers to reduce average CO2 emissions from new cars. Earlier this month, its environment (ENVI) committee, which has the lead on the dossier, rejected demands to push back the emissions deadline from the original date of 2012. Other issues remain:

  • Penalties: how to make fines an incentive for industry to invest in new technologies rather than pay fines;
  • The relationship between eco-innovation and the extent of CO2 emission cuts;
  • Derogations for small ‘niche’ manufacturers depending on the volume produced each year;
  • The establishment of a long-term target for reducing emssions to around 90-100g/km by 2020.