For more than 16 hours, the EU environment ministers have wrestled with parts of a large EU climate protection package. The EU countries have now agreed on a ban on new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035.

According to the will of the EU countries, only climate-neutral new cars should be sold in the European Union from 2035. The environment ministers of the 27 states agreed on this on Wednesday night. A final compromise must now be negotiated with the EU Parliament, which wants a complete end for new cars with combustion engines from 2035. The EU countries have spoken out in favor of reducing the so-called fleet limits for cars to zero by 2035.

These limit values ​​are specifications for manufacturers as to how much CO2 the cars and vans they produce may emit during operation. This means that from 2035 no more conventionally powered new cars with combustion engines will be sold.

Despite the ban on internal combustion engines: e-fuels could continue to be permitted

The federal government only found an internal compromise during the ongoing negotiations. According to a government spokesman on Tuesday, the EU Commission has agreed to submit a proposal on how only vehicles fueled with climate-friendly fuels, such as e-fuels, can be registered after 2035. “According to the common understanding of the federal government, this also applies to passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.”

The FDP had great concerns about agreeing to a de facto combustion engine exit. The federal government now has the back door for the Commission to formulate a proposal that also takes climate-friendly fuels into account for new cars with combustion engines. The FDP had insisted that after 2035, combustion cars that run on e-fuels could also be approved.

The federal government had actually already agreed in March to approve the EU Commission’s plan. In the morning, before the federal government reached a compromise, Economics Minister Robert Habeck and Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (both Greens) spoke of a common position for the federal government.

Agreement between EU countries and Parliament is still pending

The next step is for the EU states and the European Parliament to negotiate together. They have to agree on a common position, and Parliament had already voted in favor of a ban. The EU Commission had already made a proposal last year that included an end to combustion engines from 2035.