Thursday

18th Jul 2019

Investigation

Eurosceptic MEPs often skip Dieselgate committee

  • The Dieselgate committee seats of Ukip and National Front MEPs remained empty several times (Photo: European Parliament)

Although the European Parliament's Dieselgate inquiry provides ample opportunity to show the shortcomings of European integration in practice, eurosceptic MEPs have largely skipped the first seven hearings.

In contrast, members of the Green and Liberal groups are showing up in larger numbers than officially necessary.

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The committee is investigating if the European institutions and member states should have done more to prevent the Volkswagen emissions scandal from happening.

This website looked at the attendance of the 45 MEPs who are members of the inquiry committee and that of the 45 substitute members. It found that members of the two eurosceptic groups play truant most often.

The far right Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group, home to French party National Front, has the worst record. Although ENF has been given two seats in the committee, no one showed up for four hearings. In three hearings, only one member or substitute member was present.

Georg Mayer, who is group coordinator, showed up during only one hearing. He did appear at the constitutive meeting in March, but this website chose not to count that 15-minute meeting as it was only a procedural one - to elect the chair- and vicechairpersons.

The anti-EU group Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) was also entirely absent for two hearings. There is a sharp difference between attendance by British Ukip member Roger Helmer and Eleonora Evi of the Italian Five Star Movement.

Helmer signed off the attendance sheet at the first proper meeting, only to never show up again. His substitute from Ukip, Julia Reid, never attended a session.

Italian MEP Evi on the other hand was present for five of the seven hearings, and Italian substitute Marco Zullo attended once.

Membership of the inquiry committee is distributed along the lines of votes each group received during the most recent elections, which is why the centre-right EPP group has the most members.

Although many EPP members voted against setting up the investigative committee, on average 13 of its members showed up - only one less than the number of seats the group official has in the committee.

Until now, there appears to be a correlation between attendance and being in favour of more European integration.

Attendance of Monday's (4 July) meeting was not included in the data.

It is also worth noting that the attendance data only establishes that MEPs have signed the register. During the past months this website often saw MEPs leaving hearings after an hour, or showing up late.

(Photo: EUobserver)
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The European Parliament has backed the composition of the committee to shed light on the diesel emissions scandal. But a third of its members are unconvinced of its utility.

Investigation

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The EU Commission has kept results of an emissions test of a Porsche diesel vehicle secret for months, at the request of the German car company - which was fined €535m for its role in the Dieselgate scandal.

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