For an internal-combustion engine to keep chugging along requires hundreds of parts to move in perfect unison: just one component misfiring can blow the whole thing up. Much the same is true of the process to create new EU laws, a human creation whose inner workings rival the complexity of a car motor. Nobody knows this better than Germany, present at the birth of both the automobile and the EU. And yet. A clumsy attempt to scupper new European legislation at the last minute—on scrapping the sale of new internal-combustion cars by 2035, as it happens—has left fellow EU members seething. Not for the first time, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is accused of putting domestic political convenience ahead of the European interest.