In June, Europeans will be electing a new European Parliament, one of the European Union’s seven institutions. The parties that will be involved in the elections are already working on their programs, and a leaked document reveals Europe’s largest party might be prepping to delay the internal combustion engine ban on the continent.

Last week, Euractiv obtained a copy of the center-right European People's Party group's (EPP) manifesto. Manifestos typically aim to provide voters with a glimpse of the values they endorse when supporting candidates. A key revelation from a transportation standpoint has stirred interest, expressing the party's commitment to the phased-out approach of combustion engines in Europe.

"We reject a ban policy – such as the ban on combustion engines – and will also revise it as soon as possible."

Consistently opposing the 2035 internal combustion engine ban, the EPP, led by German lawmaker Jens Gieseke, who represented the party in discussions on CO2 standards for vehicles, has criticized what they call the Commission’s "prohibition ideology." Gieseke has long warned against the decision to phase out combustion engine vehicles, predicting a "Havana effect," with Europeans continuing to drive old combustion-powered cars for decades, akin to the situation in the Cuban capital.

This stance aligns with the EPP's "technology-open" approach to decarbonization, emphasizing the EU's avoidance of favoring specific technologies, such as electric vehicles, a sentiment shared by the European Commission, albeit with skepticism from critics. However, what captures more attention is the explicit declaration by the EPP to "revise [the law] as soon as possible." This statement carries significant implications, as the largest group in the European Parliament expresses its intention to reconsider an already approved legislation.

In March last year, Germany and the European Union reached a compromise on a proposed ban starting in 2035. Automakers can still sell ICE vehicles if they run on e-fuel. E-fuel, produced through a process involving carbon capture and hydrogen production from renewable energy, is considered carbon-neutral during combustion, as the captured CO2 returns to the atmosphere.

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