It seems we spoke too soon when we said EU leaders are bailing on green extremism. The EU plans to engage in “economic stimulus of historic proportions—from the EU budget and European Central Bank, as well as from nation-states” by borrowing €500 billion and handing it out to everybody, except they won’t be handing it out to everybody. For instance not those naughty car-makers and airlines. Angela Merkel wants a legacy, and it’s going to be green. Apparently as in grass growing around abandoned factories and the homes of those who once worked there. Of course the car industry only employs about 14 million Europeans, or did until the lockdown, while total EU unemployment is around 60 million. So who cares about cars? We have a recovery to get moving here.
Emmanuel Macron is unsurprisingly even more keen on using the crisis to force the economy into his Brave New Mold than the pseudo-free-market Merkel. And some in German industry, primarily the digital stuff like banking, are on board. So are many in the press; in Foreign Policy Jason Bordoff ends a piece on telling carmakers to go jump in a hearse because “This time around, it seems, Europe’s recovery funds will be used to transform the economy, not reinforce bad habits.” Like having blue-collar jobs and working vehicles. I mean what pundit needs that stuff?
Or politician? Macron is not bothered that his own finance minister has warned that “Renault could disappear” or that Nissan is considering massive layoffs in Europe. Everyone can work for the bureaucracy, right? And Europe is necessarily the centre of world civilization no matter what dumb or arrogant stuff its politicians do. Just ask Louis XIV.
Now it seems all is not verloren in Germany. The EU is willing to put some €100 billion into the car industry. But only if it makes cars for politicians not consumers. No more naughty gas or diesel vehicles, especially not the big kind people like and for which Germany was famous. No, it has to be EV and others that do not rely on fossil fuels. As Deutsche Welle gingerly notes at the end, there is the small matter of somehow building millions of charging ports across the continent and hoping they work and don’t use CO2 to build or maintain, let alone power. And “the plan does not touch on the fact that there is still massive debate on how clean small occupancy private vehicles can really be, electric or not.” Well no. Verdict first, trial afterward. It said clean on the label and would politicians or advertisers mislead us?