BERLIN/FRANKFURT, Sept 21 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed a proposal to require hardware retrofits of older diesel vehicles' exhaust systems to reduce pollution, Spiegel magazine reported, as a deadline for a government decision nears.
The news weekly said, without naming any sources, that Merkel had decided in favour of the mandatory upgrades and instructed her transport minister to draft legislation that would allow cars running to the Euro-5 standard to avoid inner-city bans.
Urban pollution in many German cities violates European Union norms, putting the authorities under pressure to find ways to reduce pollution without being compelled to do so by the courts.
Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that an end-month deadline for coming up with a solution to the problem still applied. He declined to comment further.
$1 = 0.8500 euros Reporting by Douglas Busvine, Gernot Heller and Hans-Edzard Busemann Editing by Maria Sheahan