Transport Minister Wissing
Photo: Florian Gaertner / photothek / IMAGO
According to the FDP, the traffic light parties agreed on Tuesday on the approval of synthetic fuels for combustion engines.
The two MPs Judith Skudelny and Michael Theurer spoke of a "major breakthrough for climate-neutral mobility".
So far, filling up with so-called e-fuels in their pure form has not been legally possible, but in future they will be allowed to be sold at public filling stations.
This project was discussed comparatively little controversially: It could reduce the CO2 emissions of existing cars with internal combustion engines, albeit at high cost and with low efficiency.
But according to the will of the Liberals, this step should only be the prelude to a big coup: a rejection of the rule already agreed in the EU that all new cars sold from 2035 must be emission-free.
Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said in the "Bild" newspaper on Tuesday that Germany would not finally approve the EU plans without further compromise - contrary to what the federal government had previously signaled.
Italy's Transport Minister Matteo Salvini had previously declared that he wanted to revoke the previous yes to the combustion engine off.
If two other states join, a veto would be possible.
A qualified majority of at least 15 EU countries, comprising at least 65 percent of the population, is sufficient for the final approval of the member states.
However, the move would be a break with EU decision-making.
The member states and the EU Parliament had already agreed on the end of combustion engines in October.
The EU Parliament gave its final formal approval in mid-February.
Wissing's initiative drew a lot of criticism.
"The climate targets in Europe are not being achieved, the EU automotive industry is losing in global competition against China and the USA, Germany is bringing down the Green Deal," Green MEP Michael Bloss warned on Twitter of the consequences.
Environmental and transport organizations were also appalled.
"Full throttle into the dead end," commented the Auto Club Europa (ACE).
Sebastian Bock, Germany Managing Director of the environmental organization "Transport & Environment", demanded that Chancellor Scholz "finally put an end to Wissing's dangerous solo efforts".
The Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) spoke of the "next FDP wisp".
"First the FDP hired climate skeptics to shoot at the speed limit study by the Federal Environment Agency, now they are happily playing frontal opposition," said their transport policy spokesman Michael Müller-Görnert.
'Minister Wissing is riding a dead horse.
He should finally take care of reducing climate emissions from traffic instead of presenting a new idea every day that prevents exactly that."
On the other hand, Wissing received approval from party friends and parts of the opposition.
"Volker Wissing is doing the right thing when he prevents the EU's unilateral and ideology-driven decision," says Wolfgang Steiger, Secretary General of the Economic Council of the CDU.
"The FDP wakes up when the mass is actually sung," complained the CDU MEP Dennis Radtke.
more on the subject
Goals for new cars: Italy wants to soften the planned end of combustion engines in the EU
Cars with diesel and petrol engines: the EU Parliament votes for the end of combustion engines
The final approval of the member states is scheduled for March 7th in Brussels at a meeting of the EU education ministers - and thus Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) speaks for Germany, not as previously in the process Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) .
Their house recently said that the green light was a mere formality.
So it could depend on whether Stark-Watzinger feels bound by the previous traffic light decisions, or by the e-fuels-friendly line of the transport minister and her party leader Christian Lindner.
In a dispute in the traffic light coalition, the FDP had managed to get the federal government to advocate synthetic fuels as an exception at EU level.
According to the October agreement, the EU Commission should examine whether combustion vehicles that can only be fueled with e-fuels and not with fossil fuels could still be approved in the future.
However, this was not a guarantee for an exception for e-fuels.