EU boosts market for clean vehicles with binding procurement targets


The Council today adopted binding targets for zero- and low-emission vehicles in public procurement in each member state. The new rules will increase market certainty, stimulate innovation and promote the global competitiveness of European industry. Clean vehicles will play a key role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant emissions, helping the EU to meet its Paris Agreement commitments.

The stakes are high: the air we breathe, climate change and the competitiveness of our industry. Promoting clean vehicles in public procurement is one of the many policy initiatives that should transform us into what we want to be: a world leader in decarbonisation.

Răzvan Cuc, Romania’s Minister for Transport, President of the Council

The reform sets out minimum procurement targets at national level for clean light-duty vehicles (cars and vans) and heavy-duty vehicles (trucks and buses), with a simple method for their calculation. The measures involve two different reference periods, one ending in 2025 and the other in 2030.

The text includes a new definition of a ‘clean vehicle’. The definition of a clean light-duty vehicle is based on CO2 emission standards, with a zero CO2 emission threshold from 2026 onwards. The definition of clean heavy-duty vehicles is based on the use of alternative fuels. In addition, there are sub-targets for zero-emission buses.

The scope of the rules is extended in terms of the procurement practices covered. The new rules will also apply to a wider range of services, including public road transport services, special-purpose passenger services, refuse collection, and postal and parcel delivery services.

The previous EU rules on the promotion of clean vehicles in public procurement dated back to 2009.

Procedure and next steps

A provisional agreement was reached between the Romanian presidency and the European Parliament on 11 February 2019. The European Parliament voted on 18 April 2019.

The directive will now be published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication. Member states will then have two years in which to adopt national provisions. They will need to report to the Commission on the implementation of the rules every three years, with the first report due by 18 April 2026.

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