September 25, 2018 / 12:34 PM / a year ago

Germany's Merkel warns against tougher EU CO2 limits on cars, vans

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to give a statement at the CDU headquarters in Berlin, Germany, September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday that European carmakers could be made uncompetitive if EU targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans were set at more than 30 percent by 2030.

European Union lawmakers, supported by Germany’s Environment Ministry, back making the CO2 reduction target for fleets of cars and vans 45 percent less than 2021 levels by 2030, setting the stage for a tough fight with national governments.

Merkel weighed into the battle between climate campaigners and manufacturers by endorsing the EU executive’s initial 30 percent reduction goal.

“The Commission’s suggestion is a sensible foundation,” she told business executives in Berlin.

“Anything that goes beyond that runs the risk of us banishing the car industry from Europe and carmakers then producing cars elsewhere, which we then buy here. I don’t want that,” she said.

The final targets still need to be agreed in negotiations between member states and the European Parliament.

The environment ministers of the European Union are due to hold a meeting on the issue at the start of October.

The German government, which is likely to have a big voice in view of the country’s large car industry, needs to have a united position to influence the direction of that debate.

The European Parliament will decide its position in a plenary session next month.

Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Michelle Martin and Edmund Blair

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