Eight European Union nations including France and Italy called for the bloc to scrap planned Euro 7 exhaust emission limits, saying they are overly ambitious and unrealistic for automakers to hit.
The countries said the tougher limits for pollutants including nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide could divert crucial investments needed to reach the EU's goal of effectively banning new combustion engine vehicles after 2035.
In a joint paper, sent to other EU members, the eight countries said the parts of Euro 7 covering curbs on exhaust pipe emissions should be scrapped entirely.
"We oppose any new exhaust emission rules (including new testing requirements or new emission limits) for cars and vans," the countries said in the paper, which was signed by France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
The paper comes amid growing signs that EU countries have reached regulatory saturation on environmental rules, following a swathe of laws designed to put the bloc on the path to climate neutrality by 2050.
The Euro 7 regulation seeks to tighten rules on pollutants other than CO2, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. The rules also aim to tackle particulates from brakes and tires.
Tackling emissions from cars has been particularly challenging. The EU’s rules to effectively ban the combustion engine in new cars from 2035 were delayed for weeks after a last-minute push by Germany to secure allowances for so-called e-fuels. The concern is that the transition to electric could result in thousands of job losses in the sector.
Germany was not a signatory of the non-paper, despite Transport Minister Volker Wissing having expressed reservations previously.
The Euro 7 rules — which will set standards for what will be the last generation of combustion engines — are due to kick in from July 1, 2025. The eight countries say that is too soon and argue that lead times are at least three years from the moment the package is adopted.
Both parliament and member states are currently negotiating on their own positions before talks between the two sides begin.
Automotive executives including Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, have argued the latest steps in cutting CO2 from cars pose unnecessary burdens on the industry and will slow the sector’s shift to electrification. France’s President Emmanuel Macron, has also said that there should be a pause in EU climate regulation.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report