The FINANCIAL -- According to EU business, the EU environment commissioner in an interview to appear on December 23 rejected German criticism of plans to fine carmakers that miss proposed cuts in carbon emissions from new cars.
"The European Commission's proposals to reduce CO2 emissions in automobiles are not punishments but a chance for the German industry," Stavros Dimas said in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.
Such projects "help climate protection and at the same time increase the competitiveness of German cars on international markets," he added.
In a drive to push down new car emissions to an average of 130 grammes per kilometre by 2012, the European Union's executive arm has proposed that automakers' targets be set according to the weight of their cars.
If they miss the targets, the Commission wants carmakers to be fined 20 euros (29 dollars) per gramme of CO2 over the limit from 2012, with the penalties rising gradually to 95 euros in 2015.
The proposals have been the subject of fierce lobbying by the automobile industry and the German government, concerned that its carmakers and their big luxury models would be hit particularly hard.
Dimas said the proposals from Brussels would "ensure highly qualified jobs over the long-term", countering fears in Germany that the proposals will result in job losses.