EU industry commission Günter Verheugen has defended himself against criticism of the EU’s CO2 proposal by the German automotive industry.

According to the German press agency, he said, “I spent a long time talking to Porsche last summer and I didn’t hear any complaints then.”

Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking recently claimed the EU was waging an economic war against Germany as an automotive industry production location.

Speaking to Handelsblatt newspaper, Verheugen said that he recommended that the debate be conducted in a “cooperative manner,” and that in any case it would be good for the competitiveness of the German economy if it led the market in environment-friendly cars.

In defence of the automotive industry, Germany’s economy minister, Michael Glos, told Handelsblatt that, “European industrial policymakers are obliged to establish clear and practical framework requirements that strengthen and do not weaken the international competitiveness of industry.” He added that German has to protect its industries’ interests to make sure they are not overlooked.

Concerns are now being voiced that the CO2 debate has become overheated in Germany.

Jürgen Thumann, president of the Association for German Industry (Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI)), made just this point. But he added that, “it is clear that Germany can only be a world leader in environmental protection if it keeps its economic engine running, and does not let it stall.”