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The Czech Republic is fighting against the EU ban on combustion engines

"We will not agree to the sales ban!": Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is fighting vehemently against the EU Commission's "Fit for 55" program.

According to the current situation, it is becoming apparent that combustion engines will become less important as a car drive in the next ten to 20 years. That's why not only more and more car manufacturers are planning to phase out this technology, but are also gradually announcing other states, regions and metropolises that they will ban pure diesel and petrol engines. In addition, the EU Commission with its "Fit for 55" program de facto decided to phase out combustion engines for its member countries for the year 2035.

"Green fanatics in the European Parliament"

But these 27 states still have to approve the project. And gradually the EU seems to be losing the support of its members. After Italy announced last week that it wanted to obtain exceptions for its sports car manufacturers , the Czech Republic is now pushing forward. "We will not agree to the ban on the sale of cars that run on fossil fuels," Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said, according to Bloomberg news agency.

When the Czech Republic takes over the EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2022, his country will make the issue a priority. The Czech Republic will support the infrastructure for electric vehicles, but will not subsidize their production. "We cannot implement here what green fanatics in the European Parliament have come up with," Babiš continued.

Probably more of an election campaign than climate policy

It is questionable whether Babiš is actually primarily pursuing climate policy purposes with his statements. A new parliament will be elected in the Czech Republic at the beginning of October. It is currently considered by no means certain that the billionaire's government will be able to remain at the top of the political system in the Czech Republic afterwards. Babiš has to correct the distortions in the domestic economy caused by the corona pandemic, which is extremely dependent on the automotive industry. The Prime Minister apparently fears that jobs will be lost here if the EU Commission implements its zero-emissions target for 2035.

Before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the automotive industry accounted for around 20 percent of both production output and Czech exports. Not only the local manufacturer Skoda, which belongs to the Volkswagen Group, is based in the Czech Republic. Other corporations such as Toyota or Hyundai also operate automobile plants here. In addition, many suppliers maintain locations in the Czech Republic. Before the Corona crisis, around 150,000 people worked for the automotive industry. In terms of population, the country is one of the largest automotive locations in the world.

Conclusion

Now that the EU member states have gathered for a few weeks, the fight against the EU Commission's decision to ban combustion engines from 2035 is on. The saber-rattling from the Czech Republic should be understood primarily as an election campaign tactic : Andrej Babiš seems to be hoping to snag a few extra votes with his anti-EU slogans. The car manufacturers based in his country, on the other hand, have long since committed themselves to a largely combustion-free future.

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