BRUSSELS -- European Union ministers agreed to water down a European Commission proposal on Euro 7 vehicle emissions after automakers and eight countries including France and Italy said the changes could divert investment from electric vehicles.
The EU countries agreed not to change the existing Euro 6 test conditions and emissions limits for cars and vans, although they will be lower for buses and heavy vehicles. They also accepted new particle emissions limits for brakes and tires.
Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, presented a compromise text on Monday that was agreed by the Council of the European Union, which comprises government ministers from each EU country.
The Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission must now negotiate a final agreement on the new regulations.
"We believe that, with this proposal, we achieved broad support, a balance in the investment costs of the manufacturing brands and we improve the environmental benefits derived from this regulation," said Spain's Hector Gomez Hernandez, acting minister for industry, trade and tourism.
Italy, France, the Czech Republic and five other states pushed for weaker rules on concerns that the proposed limits on pollutants such as nitrous oxides in combustion engines would divert development work and investment away from EVs.
Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso welcomed the agreement to water down Euro 7.
"The new regulation, at Italian request, makes it possible to safeguard the automotive supply chain of small-volume manufacturers, the high range typical of Italian production such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, symbols of 'Made in Italy' that produce around 50,000 cars a year," he said.
Italian auto industry lobby group ANFIA also welcomed the compromise, which was a "pragmatic and rational approach," its president Roberto Vavassori said.