European environment ministers could agree to set tougher and longer-term CO2 emissions limits for cars today.

According to EurActiv.com, vehicle manufacturers are expected to set a target for CO2 emissions of 100g/km by 2020 at the EU Environmental Council today.

The original European Commission proposal for CO2 emissions sets a target of 130g/km by 2012, with 10g/km coming from non-engine related technologies such as biofuels, tyres, eco-driving and gear-shift indicators.

The Slovenian Presidency had originally proposed a goal of 95g/km by 2020 and says that there is broad support for the introduction of a long-term objective. Greenpeace is calling for a goal of 80g/km by 2020.

European vehicle manufacturers have been calling for a delay in the European Commission legislation until 2015, although Reuters has reported that the German automotive industry trade association, the Verband der Automobilindustrie (VDA), has softened its stance on this.

Specific measures still have to be approved by the European Parliament but they could include fines of up to EUR95 per excess gram of CO2 that is emitted. The main area of contention on the legislation is a dispute between France and Germany over which types of vehicles should be required to make the largest improvements in CO2 emissions - small ones like those produced typically by the French manufacturers, or larger cars like the ones the Germans produce. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are due to meet next week to discuss the issue.

The issue is also expected to be discussed at the European Summit in Brussels on 19-20 June.