Italy brands EU plan to outlaw fossil fuel cars a ‘suicide’

(EurActiv, 17 Feb 2023) Italy stepped up its opposition on Thursday (16 February) to European plans to outlaw the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 12 years, with the transport minister calling a rapid switch to electric vehicles “suicide” and a “gift” to Chinese industry.

Rules approved by the European Parliament on Tuesday will require that by 2035 carmakers must achieve a 100% cut in CO2 emissions from new cars sold, which would make it impossible to sell new fossil fuel-powered vehicles in the 27-country bloc.

That plan has gone down badly in Italy, home to brands including Fiat and Alfa Romeo, where the car industry is still largely focused on combustion engine technology.

“We all care about water, air quality and a cleaner environment … but that does not mean laying off millions of workers and shutting down thousands of businesses,” said Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the rightist League party.

“The ideological fundamentalism of electricity alone is suicide and a gift to China,” he added.

Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, said more time and more funding was needed to ensure a smooth transition.

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EurActiv, 17 Feb 2023: Italy brands EU plan to outlaw fossil fuel cars a ‘suicide’