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China profiting from EU climate policy on cars, says German EPP chief

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China is profiting from the European Union’s climate policy, according to a German lawmaker heading a centre-right European party who spoke out in favour of the combustion engine.

It is clear “that the ban on the combustion engine was a serious industrial policy mistake from which China is benefiting,” the head of the European People’s Party (EPP) group in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, told the Funke media group newspapers.

We want to “remedy this after the European elections,” Weber said in reports published on Sunday.

He was referring to a decision by EU members last year to ban new cars with combustion engines, despite efforts by Berlin to block the move. Germany is a major producer of cars with combustion engines and its auto industry is a key sector in the German economy.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently said the combustion engine decision would be reviewed in 2026.

The Green Deal, as EU climate policy measures are known, should not become a “China Deal,” said Weber, noting the growing number of electric carmakers from China entering the European market.

German carmakers including Volkswagen and BMW are lagging behind their Chinese rivals in terms of e-car sales.

Germans are only slowly embracing e-cars, Federal Motor Transport Authority data shows, with nearly 1.41 million purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) registered on January 1 in Germany, some one in 35 on German roads.

Growth in electric car sales could slow in 2024 since the cancellation of state subsidies. At just under 50,000, new BEV registrations in January and February were well below the average figures for the previous year.

However the governing coalition, which includes the Green Party, hopes to have 15 million electric cars on the road by 2030.

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