Germany defends car emissions stance

Saturday 29 June 2013 00.37
Angela Merkel arriving for EU summit  where Germany succeeded in avoiding a vote on strict new car emissions levels
Angela Merkel arriving for EU summit where Germany succeeded in avoiding a vote on strict new car emissions levels

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has stood over the derailing of a vote on new strict EU car emissions rules.

"We need to keep in mind not to lose competitiveness in order to restore the environment," she said. 

A vote which had been expected to take place on Thursday has been delayed - even though the plan dates back to 2008.

However two EU sources told RTÉ News that Ireland came under "tremendous pressure from Germany" not to force a vote as holder of the Presidency of the European Council.

It is understood that Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Taoiseach Enda Kenny about the matter on Wednesday, and outlined Berlin's concerns that the measures were too restrictive on Germany's luxury car sector.

It is understood that Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke with Taoiseach Enda Kenny about the matter on Wednesday, and outlined Berlin's concerns that the measures were too restrictive on Germany's luxury car sector.

Speaking yesterday after the EU leaders' summit, Dr Merkel said: "We asked for more time. That is why the vote was put off."

Greenpeace Europe sharply criticised the decision and the German leader.

"Chancellor Merkel has shown that she's not afraid to hijack democratic processes and bully other governments to pamper a few high-end car-makers," the organisation claimed.