Denmark, backed by 10 otherEuropean Union countries, on Friday called for an EU-wide ban on diesel andpetrol cars by 2040 to combat climate change.
Denmark made the proposal cameduring a meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg.
The EU aims to cut carbonemissions in the bloc by 40 percent by 2030 while its executive, theCommission, plans to reduce them to zero by 2050 to help stop global warming.
"We need to acknowledge thatwe are in a bit of a hurry," Danish Climate and Energy Minister DanJorgensen told Reuters after the meeting.
He said the diesel and petrol carban will hopefully put pressure on the Commission to propose a phasing out offossil fuel-powered vehicles in the bloc in the coming two decades.
Denmark made headlines in October2018 when its government announced that it would ban the sale of all fossilfuel-powered cars by 2030 but it subsequently scrapped the idea because thiswould have breached EU rules.
Jorgensen said if the EU couldnot agree on a union-wide ban, it would be good if individual countries wereallowed to implement such a measure.
"Plan A would be to make ita European ban," he said.
Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia,Bulgaria and several other countries however suggested that more must be doneto stop the "carbon leakage" of selling second-hand autos fromwestern Europe to the eastern region.
Jorgensen said it was importantto communicate the bloc's long-term policy directions to carmakers and thatDenmark's next step was to set up an alliance with the 10 member states thatsupport its proposal.
"Then I think others willfollow," he said.