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Official speeches and statements - October 12, 2018

Published on October 12, 2018

1. Venezuela - Summoning of the Venezuelan Ambassador to France to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs - Communiqué issued by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris - October 11, 2018)

The Ambassador of Venezuela to France was summoned to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs today following the suspicious death of City Councilman Fernando Albán while being held in detention on October 8.

France would like light to be shed on this death through an impartial and independent investigation and reaffirms that all states have a responsibility to ensure the health and physical well-being of detainees. It renews its appeal for the full release of all political prisoners and for the respect of fundamental freedoms in Venezuela.

2. European Union - Reduction in vehicles’ CO2 emissions: the council of EU environment ministers sets a new goal - Press communiqué issued by Mr. François de Rugy, Ministre d’Etat, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, and Ms. Brune Poirson, Minister of State attached to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition (Paris - October 10, 2018)

Yesterday, François de Rugy, Ministre d’Etat, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, and Brune Poirson, Minister of State attached to the Ministre d’Etat, Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, took part in the council of EU environment ministers. In the evening, following lengthy negotiations, it set a new goal for reducing new cars’ CO2 emissions by adopting a target of a 35% reduction by 2030 compared to 2021, thus increasing the target initially proposed by the European Commission, which was a 30% reduction. An interim target of a 15% reduction by 2025 will ensure manufacturers make a significant effort from the beginning of the period.

This target means that, on average, new vehicles will consume more than one-third less fuel to travel the same distance as a decade earlier, thus reducing pollution and, to a great extent, motorists’ fuel bills.

Achieving these targets will require not only real technological breakthroughs on combustion engines but also the introduction of a large proportion of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles into manufacturers’ ranges.

France has therefore ensured that the incentive ("bonus") scheme introduced sets high demands on manufacturers. It encourages them to incorporate a large proportion of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles into their sales (more than a third) in return for a slight reduction in the target for classic vehicles. This mechanism will also have a beneficial effect on air quality, particularly in towns and cities. It will therefore provide an incentive for clean vehicles to be developed as quickly as possible.

France has committed strongly to these negotiations: together with other ambitious countries, it has championed a CO2 emissions reduction target of 40% by 2030 for all automobile manufacturers in their sales throughout the European Union.

Other partners, out of a concern to limit the effort made by the automotive industry, did not want to go beyond a 30% reduction. Out of a desire for effectiveness, European cohesion and ambition - because it was essential to act without delay, especially before COP24 -, France enabled a decision on the issue to be taken with its partners at the Council yesterday.

The Minister also got a revision clause introduced which allows the emissions reduction target to be adjusted in 2023 depending on real emissions recorded across the vehicle fleet.

The discussions beginning today between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission will allow us to confirm Europe’s ambition, against the background of the European Parliament’s adoption of a proposed 40% reduction.

At the same time, the government will continue the discussions with French and European manufacturers to speed up the replacement of the most polluting existing vehicles, so that we can get the expected results on our emissions as soon as possible. The European Union will thus be able to implement a very concrete measure at industry level, thus addressing one of the IPPC report’s recommendations on limiting global warming to 1.5ºC.

For François de Rugy, "France has played a driving role in these negotiations both to maintain ambition and reach an agreement which takes on board all the European countries’ concerns. As far as climate is concerned, we’re promoting ambitious targets at European level, but we’re also mobilized to get concrete measures adopted which enable us to hit these targets. The agreement on reducing vehicles’ CO2 emissions reached yesterday at the EU environment ministers’ council is part of this".

For Brune Poirson, "This agreement is going to allow us to reduce both emissions from the whole of Europe’s vehicle fleet and motorists’ fuel bills. It sends a clear signal to automobile manufacturers about the need to start making real technological breakthroughs in their vehicle fleets".