Von der Leyen’s German party still wants to kill EU combustion engine ban

By Zia Weise | 03/07/2024 06:34 AM EST

The Christian Democrats’ election program puts the European Commission chief in an awkward spot.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a joint press conference with Ukraine's President following their talks in Kyiv on November 4, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference Nov. 4, 2023. Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

BRUSSELS — Germany’s conservatives want to scrap the EU’s combustion engine phase-out, a signature policy of the party’s lead candidate going into June’s European election.

Last year, the bloc adopted legislation banning the sale of new cars running on combustion engines from 2035, as proposed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

But Germany’s Christian Democrats promised to repeal the law in their draft EU election program, obtained by Berlin Playbook — putting von der Leyen, whom it has endorsed as its lead candidate ahead of the blocwide election, in an awkward position.


“We want to abolish the ban on combustion engines, and preserve Germany’s cutting-edge combustion engine technology and develop it further in a technology-neutral way. Synthetic fuels play a central role in this,” the draft program reads.