Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he will defend the country's key auto industry and will challenge a European Union proposal to abandon gasoline and diesel cars by 2035.
"We will not agree with the ban on selling fossil-fuel-powered cars," he told the iDnes news website on Wednesday. "It's not possible. We can't dictate here what green fanatics devised in the European Parliament."
The nation, one of the world's top automotive producers on a per-capita basis, will make the topic a priority when it assumes the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2022, Babis said.
Czechs will support an infrastructure for electric vehicles but will not subsidize their actual production, he said.
The automotive industry accounts for almost third of the Czech economy. The nation is home to Volkswagen Group's Skoda brand, which has two car factories in the country. Toyota and Hyundai also build cars in the country.
Babis, who is aiming for re-election next month, is prioritizing protecting national interests and being at the forefront of EU policy making.