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French transport minister warns of ‘risky’ loophole over e-fuels in car engines – POLITICO

PARIS — French Transport Minister Clement Beaune said Friday that the German proposal to save the combustion engine was “risky”.

“Our choice for 2035 must remain – as we have collectively pledged to do, including Germany – to phase out combustion engine vehicles,” Beaune told POLITICO in an interview, adding that “we must not jam the signal” sent to the automotive industry. .

His comments come after Germany proposed making room for e-fuels – synthetic alternatives to hydrogen and CO2-based fossil fuels that can be used in traditional combustion engines – in legislation that would otherwise , would impose a zero-emission sales policy only for new cars and vans. from 2035.

“We are still discussing but it seems difficult to imagine a situation in which we will manage to combine the use of e-fuels and the banning of the combustion engine in 2035,” the minister said, adding that he remained open to consideration of all proposals that would not challenge the 2035 ban.

“Leaving too much openness on the technological choice [on fuel] is risky,” he said, adding that e-fuels will be more needed in other sectors such as aviation.

Germany, along with Italy, Poland and Bulgaria, have threatened to oppose new EU rules that would ban the sale of combustion engine vehicles from 2035. The legislation had already been approved during negotiations between member countries and the European Parliament last year, and it needed the final nod from capitals to become EU law.

For Beaune, the turnaround in Berlin is a matter of domestic politics. “It’s also an internal debate within the German coalition, which I respect,” he said.

Beaune has not ruled out the possibility that the subject could come up at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels next week.

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