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Fuel efficiency too low on Cameron's agenda

June 27, 2013 5:59 PM
By Bill Newton Dunn MEP
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Bill Newton Dunn 2David Cameron sides with Germany to postpone fuel efficiency measures that could bring great benefits to the East Midlands and save money for E Midlands drivers.

A deal to increase the fuel efficiency of cars and reduce their CO2 emissions was today halted in Brussels after German chancellor Angela Merkel called in favours from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The UK had been expected to support an agreement reached with MEPs on Monday that calls for fuel efficiency improvements of more than 25% by 2020, reducing CO2 emissions from new cars to an average of 95g/km.

A study by the European Commission suggests that the fuel efficiency deal could save as much as £850 for an average driver and secure a 6% reduction in UK oil imports.

But after a personal phone call from Angela Merkel to David Cameron, government officials were told today that they would have to side with Germany to block the deal.

Cameron's move causes fury amongst Liberal Democrats whose transport minister, Norman Baker, yesterday assured EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard that the deal had his full support.

German carmakers fear that their luxury brands would have difficulty meeting the emissions requirements unless arrangements are made to meet their needs.

Environmentalists fear that progress could now be blocked indefinitely as the EU Chair of the other chamber, the Council of Ministers, now passes to Lithuania whose representatives have played virtually no part in the negotiations.

Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands Bill Newton Dunn said:

"David Cameron has betrayed the interests of both car drivers across the East Midlands, and the environment that we live in. It seems the German move to block the agreement was even opposed by the car manufacturers in Britain so it shows that his loyalties most certainly do not lie with the British industry."

"Cameron has shown significant weakness by siding with Germany over such a crucial deal. After a simple click of the fingers by Angela Merkel he now is against a package that would bring great benefits to the environment"

"It may be argued that a final decision has only been postponed, but no-one should be under any doubt that this move by David Cameron will cause deep resentment amongst other EU governments, his own coalition partners and postpone fuel efficiency improvements that are greatly needed and would benefit citizens across the East Midlands"