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Despite the proposition, Luxembourg has the most cars per inhabitant in the EU

Luxembourg Minister pushing for an EU-wide ban on cars in cities during weekends

Luxembourg Minister pushing for an EU-wide ban on cars in cities during weekends

The REPowerEU 200 billion-euro plan calls for a gradual reduction of Russian fuel imports

On 18 May, as the European Commission adopted the REPowerEU plan, Luxembourg’s Energy Minister, Claude Turmes, expressed his opinion that it did not go far enough. According to him, one of the major areas that REPowerEU skips is reducing demand for fossil fuels on an overall scale.

In fact, the Commission’s initiative to decouple Europe from Russian fuel imports by 2027 does have some measures, centred around energy efficiency and curbing heat consumption.

Yet, most recommendations featured in the ‘EU Save Energy Communication’ focus on electricity and heat consumption and largely pass the ball to the Member States.

According to a report by the DPA, the German Press Agency, Minister Turmes explained that driving slower and less frequently can punish Putin in the short term. In fact, he pointed out that a greater focus on motor transport is a part of the EU’s green agenda, so instituting certain measures could have a two-birds-with-one-stone effect on emissions and energy independence.

Drive slow for Ukraine; drive slow for energy independence

Minister Turmes's proposal focuses primarily on motor vehicles and commutes. His main point centres around banning cars from cities on the weekends and expanding working from home as the new gold standard for the EU.

He also proposed an EU-wide speed limit, while in terms of teleworking, he said that offering employees just two days with no commute can make a massive difference on a continental scale. He estimated that the EU could save 2.5 million barrels of oil every year, cut funding for Russian fuel imports and accelerate the green transition. He then concluded: “I urge the Commission not to miss the opportunity to set Europe on this path.”

Curiously, however, Luxembourg is also currently the country with the most cars per person in the entire European Union, according to Eurostat. Furthermore, the Grand Duchy is fairly reliant on Russian natural gas imports, with a quarter of its supply coming from there. At the same time, the country has storage capacities to last only four days, making it extremely reliant on the unbroken flow of imports.

At the same time, according to data from the OEC (Observatory of Economic Complexity), Luxembourg imports the majority of its refined petroleum from France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and China.

Nevertheless, the Grand Duchy is trying to shake off that fuel dependency, slowly and methodically, by introducing low-speed zones and free public transport.

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