‘Gift to Chinese’: Why Italians are opposing EU plan to ban fossil-fuel cars
The European Union or EU is aiming to ban the sale of conventional, fossil-fuel-powered cars by 2035 but not everyone is quite onboard. The Italians, for instance, are openly against such a move with the country's transport minister recently saying that it would be ‘suicide’ and that the move would be a ‘gift to the Chinese.’ Italy is home to some iconic car brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Fiat and Alfa Romeo.
The European Parliament recently approved rules that would make it imperative for car manufacturers to ensue a 100 per cent cut in CO2 emissions from all new cars sold by 2035. This means that car makers would, in effect, be unable to sell petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. But the Italians are not quite on board. “We all care about water, air quality and a cleaner environment ... but that does not mean laying off millions of workers and shutting down thousands of businesses," said Matteo Salvini, Italy's Transport Minister. “The ideological fundamentalism of electricity alone is suicide and a gift to China."
China is the world's largest automotive market and also the largest electric vehicle market. While several local brands here have spread to foreign shores, even Tesla uses its manufacturing hub in Shanghai to export EVs to several markets in Europe.
Italy wants more time to ensure that the industry and market can adapt better and more effectively to EVs. According to data from automotive association ANFIA, EV sales in the country fell by around 27 per cent in 2022 and such vehicles made up only around four per cent of all new vehicle registrations. Overall car sales too have been dipping with Italy falling out of the top 10 in the list of world's biggest automotive markets.