• Germany's news in English

Merkel and Sarkozy resolve dispute over car emissions

AFP · 10 Jun 2008, 07:05

Published: 10 Jun 2008 07:05 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We have made an important breakthrough on this subject where initially our positions were very, very far apart," Merkel said at a Franco-German summit in the southern German town of Straubing. "I am very happy to be able to say that we both support the EU goal of 120

grammes per kilometre on all new EU cars by 2012."

The agreement came as a surprise after Berlin warned late last week that no settlement was expected in Straubing and described talks on the emissions limit as "difficult and complicated in detail."

The German government had strongly opposed the EU plans as vehicles made by cornerstone German firms such as BMW, Daimler and Porsche tend to be larger, luxury vehicles with greater emissions. France however backed the legislation as leading French carmakers such as

Peugeot and Renault tend to build smaller cars that pollute less.

Merkel said she had agreed with Sarkozy here that the EU proposal would apply from 2012 to all new cars produced, but stressed that it would only gradually be enforced with regard to existing models.

She added however that the German and French delegations were considering proposing to fellow European states that they should be more ambitious still and eventually aim to limit emissions to between 95 and 110 grammes per kilometre.

"The details will still have to be worked out by our environment ministers but we believe that this is giant step forward."

Merkel and Sarkozy hailed the agreement as proof that Germany and France can cooperate for the good of Europe, despite frequent disagreements. "We have proven again that France and Germany can work together. We have agreed to work together," the chancellor said.

She had earlier pledged to give France her fulsome backing France when it takes over the rotating EU presidency in July. "We are going to support France during its presidency of the EU."

In keeping with that pledge, French and German ministers said here they have agreed to cooperate on immigration - an issue on which France plans to propose a sweeping new EU pact once it takes over the presidency.

The two sides said they would work together more closely to fight illegal immigration and lobby other EU members to refrain from giving residency status collectively to large groups of illegal immigrants.

The summit also saw Sarkozy reiterate his proposal for European nations to cap value-added tax on oil to rein in prices skirting the $140 a barrel mark. He urged EU leaders to consider it at their summit in Brussels next week. "I have explained my position on oil taxes. The governments of all countries should think about it."

"We should try to find a common position when the time comes, which means June 18 and 19" in Brussels, he said. The proposal has run into resistance from other EU countries as well as the European Commission and met with little enthusiasm from Merkel.

"We have not taken a decision," she said.

Story continues below…

Merkel and Sarkozy have had a stormy relationship since he took office last May and notably clashed over his proposal for a union of Mediterranean nations. She saw it as a bid to sideline Berlin and Sarkozy finally promised to open the union to all European nations. But observers say a summit on the project in July will show whether the compromise is holding.

On Monday, they made a show of unity at their last summit before France assumes the EU presidency on July 1. "France has come to tell you that we need Germany," Sarkozy said.

He praised Merkel as the woman who pulled the European Union out of its constitutional crisis and helped to deliver the Lisbon Treaty on a new organisational framework for the 27-nation bloc.

"When Europe was deadlocked, it was Germany and Madame Merkel that unblocked the situation."

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd