* Planned vote delayed following pressure from Berlin
* EU presidency says several nations want more time
* Compromise deal agreed on Monday after months of debate
By Barbara Lewis and Laurence Frost
BRUSSELS/PARIS, June 27 German lobbying has
halted a deal to enforce stricter rules on carbon dioxide
emissions for all new cars in the European Union from 2020, EU
sources said on Thursday.
The compromise deal was hammered out late on Monday to
enforce a limit of 95 grams per kilometre (g/km) as an average
across the EU fleet by 2020.
It had the backing of most member states, EU sources said,
but Germany, home to premium carmakers, such as Daimler
and BMW, was not happy and has campaigned
aggressively against the plan.
EU ambassadors were expected to take a vote on Thursday, but
failed to do so. The sources said the vote was delayed by
lobbying as Germany played for time.
Senior German officials contacted EU counterparts and "asked
that the decision should not be taken immediately," a European
diplomatic source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The source expected Germany to seek a delay until after
elections in September.
"As far as I'm aware there is no question of changing the
content of the agreement," the source said, although other EU
sources said Germany was looking for allies to overturn the
deal, rather than to simply delay it.
A spokeswoman for Ireland, which holds the rotating EU
presidency, said several delegations had asked for more time to
study the agreement.
She added that Lithuania, which takes over the EU presidency
from July 1, would oversee further talks.
Germany has been lobbying for weeks to shelter its premium
car sector from the tighter regulations by campaigning for
loopholes, known as supercredits.
These allow manufacturers to carry on producing more
polluting vehicles provided they also make some very low
emissions vehicles, such as electric cars.
The compromise agreement allows for some flexibility, but
less than Germany had hoped for.
There was no immediate comment on the delay from Germany,
which has defended its lobbying, saying its car industry is a
major source of jobs.
Campaigners have voiced outrage at the tactics, saying it
was bad news for consumers, who risk missing out on the savings
linked to lower-emission, more fuel efficient cars, as well as
being bad for climate policy.
Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer
Organisation (BEUC) said it was "a clear case of the concerns of
a handful of companies taking precedence over consumers'
While representatives of the German car industry have said
they were unhappy with the compromise deal, other manufacturers
were dismayed by the delay.
"As a company committed to meaningful CO2 emission
reductions through advanced technology, Ford is disappointed,"
Ford Motor Co said in a statement. "We will now have to
regroup within the industry to determine the next steps."