Despite the European Union’s (EU) ambitious goal to ban all new combustion engine vehicles by 2035, Italy, under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s leadership, is leading a dissenting charge. This resistance strongly responds to the potential socio-economic impact of the EU’s decision on Italy’s robust automotive industry.
Since coming to power in October, Meloni has been actively advocating for her nation’s auto sector, representing nearly 270,000 direct and indirect workers and contributing 5.2% of Italy’s GDP in 2022. The Prime Minister’s stance directly responds to concerns the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) raised about the potential loss of over 60,000 jobs in Italy by 2035 due to the transition of electric vehicles (EV).
I take back all those bad jokes, I have said over the years putting down Italians. At this point in time under Meloni they are showing some true grit. https://t.co/YaYQCwd3kU
— Rev. Paul John Kalchik (@KalchikRev) May 26, 2023
Italy’s fight against the EU’s mandate is not a lone battle. Seven other EU nations, including France and Poland, are joining the rebellion, staunchly opposing the proposed “Euro 7” pollution standards. However, enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso noted, “Italy is showing the way, our positions are more and more widely shared,” highlighting the growing discontent within the EU member states.
Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, lending his voice to the matter, pointed out the environmental fallacy of the EU’s decision, noting it as “clearly wrong and not even useful from an environmental point of view.” This sentiment echoes the concerns raised by numerous environmentalists and experts who argue that the manufacturing process of EVs, including the extraction of rare earth minerals for their batteries and the required fossil fuel-driven electricity, might offset any purported environmental benefits.
The reality of EV infrastructure, or the lack thereof, further complicates the EU’s electric drive. The scant number of charging stations in Italy, merely 36,000 compared to the Netherlands’ 90,000, speaks volumes about the logistical challenges ahead. Felipe Munoz, an analyst at Jato Dynamics, notes, “There is no enthusiasm for electric cars in Italy,” given the current lack of supportive infrastructure.
Backing this real-world stance, Italy’s legendary automaker, Ferrari, has declared its commitment to continue producing combustion engines until the end of the 2030s. However, Ferrari’s CEO Benedetto Vigna emphasized the importance of consumer choice and the company’s heritage, stating, “I don’t want to be arrogant and impose a choice on our client.”
Despite the growing global trend toward electric vehicles, Italy’s stand illustrates the need for a balanced approach that addresses economic and infrastructural realities. As the EU aims to prioritize green policies, it must also be prepared for resistance from nations like Italy, where traditional industry and jobs are at stake.