Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2003-01-29-Speech-3-152"

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"Madam President, I will now present here the final appraisal of the directive on fuel quality, which we originally adopted in this House in 1998. At the time, as a result of a fairly heated debate and decision-making process, the European Parliament managed to push through the world’s most stringent quality requirements for fuel in road vehicles. We quarrelled particularly with the oil industry about whether there was a need to lower sulphur levels in petrol and diesel fuel. We actually had to put forward an enormous number of arguments to get the reform through that would reduce the sulphur content of diesel and petrol to a considerably lower level than it was then. This turned out to be a very strategic and wise move. Lowering the sulphur content of fuels will perhaps have proved even more important when we try to reduce air pollution. The essence of this reform, which we in Parliament are today getting prepared for the home straight, is now that by 2009 only petrol and diesel fuel which is, in practice, virtually sulphur-free will be permitted to be sold in the European Union. This will be very important in that we will really be able to purify car exhaust emissions to a greater extent than before. The reason why this reform is more important now than the previous one, however, is that car manufacturers are continually developing engines which are cleaner and which produce fewer emissions. These new engines, like direct injection engines, for example, will inevitably need these sulphur-free fuels. We should be satisfied with the end result. We succeeded in getting the Commission and the Council to agree that sulphur-free fuels would be on the market by 2009, bringing forward the time frame by two years. I would say, if predictions can be made here, that this situation will come about earlier than this anyway because many Member States have realised that this process can be speeded up substantially by granting very small tax concessions for cleaner fuels. I might perhaps say that Sweden and Finland were the countries where this was realised earlier on and clean fuels were brought onto the market very swiftly. In 2005 this directive will be reviewed. It is to be decided then whether there can in fact be sulphur-free diesel fuel by 2009. As rapporteur, I am only sorry that with this general solution we have not decided now that sulphur-free diesel fuels will be on the market in 2009. I think this interim evaluation in 2005 only complicates matters, but we did not succeed in getting this through in Parliament at second reading. The suspicion has arisen that the production of sulphur-free diesel fuel would mean increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions. I, however, believe that it would have been quite possible to introduce this reform now as any disadvantages of sulphur-free fuel production are offset by the fact that new cars are coming onto the market at a faster rate than ever and carbon dioxide emissions are becoming fewer as a result. The re-evaluation in 2005 will also involve discussion on how sulphur-free or low-sulphur fuels for mobile machinery can be brought onto the market. This was perhaps the most problematic issue of all in the conciliation discussions. I myself would say I am fairly satisfied with the end result, which is that sulphur-free fuels will be introduced for tractors and other mobile machinery by 2009. I do not believe that farmers will have to pay a very great deal more for this as costs in general will ultimately fall. Madam President, I wish to correct one thing in the documentation. It says that Parliament adopted one amendment at first reading. This is not true. I would like it recorded in the Minutes that Parliament adopted 36 amendments at first reading."@en1

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