politics

A Green Deal for the EU? No thanks: German liberals want a weaker ‘yellow deal’

BRUSSELS — Water down the European Green Deal and you have our vote.

That’s the message Germany’s pro-business liberals are sending to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen ahead of this week’s continental elections.

The Free Democrats (FDP), part of the centrist Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, published on Monday a list of demands for the “necessary political changes” the party wants to see after the elections.

Its support for the new Commission, writes the party, is conditional on the realization of these changes. The FDP’s top priority: dismantling the new green regulations.

“The Green Deal has become the epitome of excessive bureaucracy in Europe. The new European Commission must transform the Green Deal into a liberal Yellow Deal,” the document reads.

In a clear threat to von der Leyen, the party pledged to “exert its influence” over “personnel decisions of the new European Commission.”

The FDP is part of Germany’s three-party governing coalition and its veto could force Berlin to abstain in a European Council decision among EU leaders on which candidates to support for top Commission posts. His MPs – there are currently five – could also vote against von der Leyen in the confirmation vote in July.

Eliminate red tape

The FDP, whose political color is yellow, said a “Yellow Deal” would involve the abolition of “detailed, small-scale regulations” and country-specific climate targets.

The new Commission, the document adds, must commit to “technological neutrality,” meaning it should not favor specific technologies over others – such as heat pumps over gas boilers .

The FDP also demands that Brussels abandon rules that would ban the sale of new fossil fuel-powered cars in 2035 and eliminate all emissions targets for carmakers – going even further than Germany’s Christian Democrats, the center-party right which controversially wants to abolish the phasing out of combustion engines.

All this is necessary, says the party, to guarantee the future competitiveness of the bloc.

“The EU is the largest contiguous market in the world… However, under Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the European Union has significantly lost competitiveness,” the document begins.

“With the Green Deal, sustainability reporting requirements and the ban on combustion engines in particular, the von der Leyen Commission has damaged the German and European economy and prevented growth,” continues the FDP.

Instead, the EU should rely “much more strongly on emissions trading as the sole instrument for guiding climate policy”.

Under the bloc’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the price per tonne of carbon is currently around 75 euros, down from last year’s peak of almost 100 euros.

The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research warned last week that “anything that deteriorates the long-term credibility of the EU’s climate goals could cause a further collapse in ETS carbon prices in the short term and lead to insufficient investments in climate protection.

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