Toll trouble, big-bang batteries & plane progress

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EU leaders gather in Brussels later this week. Could they agree on a new climate plan? Catch up on the saga so far here and prepare for what could be a landmark moment.

The Commission reveals later today that national climate and energy plans are currently inadequate. In non-ETS sectors, ground transport included, there’s a 2% cuts gap.

Austria came out on top in its case against Germany over its road-toll. The EU’s top court decided the Bundesrepublik’s charges are against community law.

The Council gave its stamp of approval to new CO2 limits for heavy vehicles, the EU’s first foray into truck regulation. Full text here and background info for newcomers here. Member states also gave their blessing to clean mobility procurement rules.

All new trucks and buses must come equipped with tachographs as of 15 June. The devices record driver activity and are meant to improve social protection and road safety. EU transport chief Violeta Bulc said it is an “essential tool” in fighting fraud.

After the ECJ struck down certain EU rules on emissions testing, the Commission tabled a new proposal, the details of which are here. The court decided last year that the EU executive should not have finalised the deal behind closed doors through comitology.

Scotland and Wales are turning to batteries to solve their climate and employment challenges, while a Swedish start-up secured $1bln to build Europe’s first gigafactory. Work is also ongoing on a certification scheme that will show how sustainable raw materials are.

Transport decarbonisation targets in the new renewable energy directive will be revised if needed, says one EU official. The Commission was forced to compromise during tense talks and a mid-term review rolls around in 2023. Stay up to date with our Special Report here.

Fiat-Chrysler’s nixed tie-up with Renault is “still interesting”, says France’s finance chief. But can the French be trusted with mega-mergers? The evidence is starting to point to ‘no’.

At the Paris Air Show, Airbus took an early lead against eternal rivals Boeing, clocking up lots of new orders and debuting a new aircraft. Germany, France and Spain put pen to paper on a new fighter jet cooperation programme.

Swiss entrepreneur and solar aircraft pilot Bertrand Piccard wants airlines to take climate change more seriously, in this op-ed (FR). And could Madrid be on the cusp of ditching its hugely popular clean air zone? The new mayor isn’t a fan.

Germany only spent €77 per person on its train network in 2018. For comparison, Switzerland spent €365 and Austria €218. Rail investments outstrip road in those two countries. France might be about to get a splash of green after Flixtrain said it would launch services there.

Brussels’ city-wide ride-share system is going electric. Nearly half of the 5,000-strong fleet will be replaced with e-bikes this summer. A public service message: please don’t burn bikes, it’s messy and very anti-social.

Thursday’s summit is geared around doling out the top jobs but we know one is already secured: EU catering tsar and definitely-not-a-parody-account Albert Kuñardocz is getting five more years at the Berlaymont. We wish him luck.

What else I’m reading

Vertical spaceport coming to remote Scottish island [E&T]

Heathrow reveals expansion ‘masterplan’ [BBC]

First African members join transport decarbonisation alliance [Club of Mozambique]

No quick fix for growth of aviation emissions [Politico]

Next stops

The ECJ rules on a state aid case on 19 June involving Germany’s infamous Nürburgring racetrack.

There’s also a potentially fascinating case on 20 June involving a car fire, insurance and irked Spaniards.

Carbon pricing and aviation levies are the name of the game at a summit in The Hague 20-21 June. Speakers like Brune Poirson and Pierre Moscovici will look into whether taxing jet fuel could be a silver bullet to climate challenges. Background here.

The Paris Air Show will continue until 23 June.

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