Italy seeks alliance with France and Germany to tame EU car emissions laws
ROME - Italy wants to team up with France and Germany to "influence" and slow the pace of European Union laws on cutting car and truck emissions, Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said on Saturday.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's right-wing government has already come out strongly against the bloc's decision to outlaw the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035, with one minister calling the forced switch to electric "suicide" and a "gift" to Chinese industry.
Speaking to the TGcom news channel, Urso called on the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, to take a "pragmatic, concrete, non-ideological" approach to climate change laws, and said he wanted to build "an alliance" with Paris and Berlin to soften their cost for industry and consumers.
He said he had discussed the issue in Berlin with German Economy Minister Robert Habeck on Feb. 20, and would do the same in Rome on March 3 with French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.
"The three great European industrial countries can influence ... European regulations," he said, referring to Italy, France and Germany.
Urso specifically mentioned two draft EU laws: the Euro 7 tougher emission rules for cars, vans, trucks and buses, and this month's proposal to further cut truck and bus emissions. He said Italy would be "determined" to stall the two bills' approval until after the next EU parliamentary elections in 2024, unless Rome's demands for moderation are met.
"They are two important dossiers which must be tackled realistically, giving citizens and businesses a real chance to adapt in good time," he said.
Urso also indicated that Italy would lobby for a broader revision of "the stages and modalities of the ecological transition" in 2026, when the European Commission is due to review progress made towards the 2035 target of achieving zero emissions from new cars and vans.
Echoing concerns expressed by Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, Urso said the EU risked going from "energy subjection" to Russia for fossil fuel supplies to "an even more serious dependency" on China for green technologies and raw materials.
EU regulations on road sector emissions are part of a broader package of tougher policies against climate change, designed to deliver on the bloc's targets to slash greenhouse gas emissions this decade.
(Reporting by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Helen Popper)