The EU has agreed a compromise on future tougher CO2 limits that have been opposed by German OEMs and the German government.

A new outline agreement delays full implementation of a limit of 95 grams of CO2 per km for all new cars until 2021 from a previous deadline of 2020.

The latest agreement also changes the rules on flexibility, giving more leeway to German luxury car manufacturers such as Daimler and BMW, whose average emissions are naturally higher than those OEMs who specialise in smaller vehicles.

"We have worked together with the European Parliament for limited additional flexibility. Tonight we have found a very delicate balance," said Arunas Vinciunas, the ambassador for Lithuania, which holds the six-month rotating EU presidency.

The deal will be presented to a meeting of EU diplomats on Friday, with a view to getting their agreement. It would then have to be signed off by member state governments and the European Parliament.

Chancellor Angela Merkel championed the cause of the big German carmakers, declaring she was protecting German jobs, and persuaded other EU states to agree to scrap an agreement on 2020 emissions targets that was reached in June.

Apart from the phase-in, under which 95% of new car sales will have to comply in 2020 and 100% in 2021, Tuesday's agreement also changes the rules for "supercredits".

These allow manufacturers that make very low emission vehicles, such as electric cars, to claim extra credits for them, so they can continue to produce more heavily polluting vehicles as well.

An agreement reached in June had set a limit for use of supercredits at 2.5 grams per year. The new deal sets a cap of 7.5 grams of carbon dioxide for the years 2020-2022, so a manufacturer could opt to use all the flexibility in the first year.

Europe has in place a 2015 CO2 limit of 130 g/km as an average across the EU fleet, a goal seen as very achievable as many manufacturers are already meeting or very close to doing so.

See also: EU proposals and background

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