Riigikogu EU Affairs Committee supports reducing vehicle emissions

Cars (Photo is illustrative).
Cars (Photo is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

At its meeting on Monday, the European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) of the Riigikogu approved Estonia's positions on the EU initiative aimed at reducing the vehicle emission standards and ensuring that private vehicles, vans, trucks, and buses are more robust and sustainable.

Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski (Center), deputy chair of the EUAC, said that the improvement of air quality and consequent protection of human health was a noble and vital goal. "We must understand that the new requirements will somewhat raise the cost of vehicles," said Jufereva-Skuratovski, adding that the price increases have to remain minimal as, alongside the planned increase in both VAT and income taxes, it may have a negative impact on the accessibility of cars in Estonia.

"It is also important to make sure the initiative does not constitute an impediment to developing and introducing vehicles with zero CO2 emissions," she said.

In addition to reducing vehicle emissions, the Euro 7 emission standards aim to make emission standards uniform irrespective of vehicle type or fuel source. The standards also seek to ensure vehicles remain sustainable for longer in real world conditions.

For Estonia, it is important to achieve a balance between the introduction of technological innovations and the subsequent rise in prices.

The initiative does not concern only emissions, but also pollution from brakes and tires. According to an EUAC press release, Estonia's position is that ice grip tires should remain outside the scope of the initiative, otherwise the regulation may ultimately lead to a significant increase in their prices.

Air pollution caused an estimated 300,000 premature deaths in the EU in 2018. The main source of air pollution in cities is road transport. The European Commission predicts that the new requirements will increase the price of vehicles to some extent. However, the burden to the health care system will also be reduced, meaning society will gain approximately €133 billion as a result reducing dangerous air pollution.

Monday's EUAC meeting was attended by Sander Salmu, deputy secretary general for transport at the Estonian Ministry of Climate, who presented the initiative.

The EUAC decided to approve the government's positions on the proposal for a regulation on type-approval of motor vehicles and engines, as well as of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, with respect to their emissions and battery durability (Euro 7) COM(2022) 586 and in line with the opinions of the Riigikogu Environment Committee and Economic Affairs Committee.

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Editor: Michael Cole

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