BERLIN – Germany blocked the introduction of tougher European Union emissions rules for cars shortly after Chancellor Angela Merkel's party received a large donation from three major BMW shareholders.
The opposition Left Party cited the donation Tuesday as evidence of an uncomfortably close relationship between Merkel and German automakers.
At Germany's insistence, EU environment ministers delayed agreement Monday on the proposed emissions rules scheduled to come into force in 2020.
Merkel's Christian Democratic Union said the receipt of 690,000 euros ($935,900) last week from Susanne Klatten, her mother Johanna Quandt and brother Stefan Quandt was "completely unrelated to any individual political decision."
The Quandt family holds almost half the shares in Munich-based BMW, whose luxury cars on average emit well over the proposed limit of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.