Saturday

16th Oct 2021

Nothing to hide on Dieselgate, says EU science body

  • Sucha: 'nothing to hide' (Photo: European Commission)

The EU's science body has dismissed suggestions that a senior emissions expert was shunted aside because of the Dieselgate scandal.

Vladimir Sucha, head of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), told EUobserver on Wednesday (5 October) that the reshuffle had been planned before the Volkswagen scandal broke in September 2015.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Emissions expert Giovanni De Santi left his post as director of the JRC's Institute for Energy and Transport on 1 July, in the middle of a European Parliament investigation into the Dieselgate scandal, and ahead of a crucial reform in car approvals legislation.

But Sucha insisted that the reshuffle was no surprise, as De Santi had been in his post for nine years.

Moreover, as director, De Santi had become less involved in daily research into emissions anyway, and the JRC still has many emissions experts, Sucha said.

Sucha also expressed disappointment with how the JRC was sometimes portrayed after the Volkswagen scandal broke.

Some left-wing MEPs in the Dieselgate inquiry committee suspect that the publication of findings on real-world emissions from passenger cars was delayed for several months in 2010, but no documented proof has been uncovered yet.

Sucha rebuffed this suspicion, insisting that the JRC had “nothing to hide”.

Instead, he noted that the JRC's development of a new on-road measurement system of emissions was actually an important achievement, unrivalled anywhere in the world.

The new system is currently being used to monitor real driving emissions, but from September 2017 will be part of the official tests cars need to pass before they can be sold in Europe.

'Clumsy'

Sucha did admit that the way an interview request by this website with De Santi was handled may have been somewhat “clumsy”.

Last May, this website had an appointment to meet with De Santi in the Netherlands, but the interview was cancelled the day before.

Instead, EUobserver was told to put questions in writing, which in the end were answered by the EU commission's spokeswoman for industry affairs, suggesting that De Santi was being shielded from the press.

But in this case too, Sucha said there were no ulterior motives.

The JRC chief made his remarks during a dinner with journalists held a day before a press trip of the institute's facility in Italy.

EU commission reshuffles car emissions expert

Move takes place amidst frustration with MEPs investigating dieselgate over lack of cooperation from the commission's in-house think tank. An interview was prevented from taking place.

News in Brief

  1. Poland legalises refugee pushbacks
  2. Report: China's Xi to snub UK climate summit
  3. Norway killings 'appeared to be' Islamist 'terrorism'
  4. Le Pen vows to 'dismantle' wind-power plants
  5. Slovenia PM tweets antisemitic conspiracy theory
  6. Italy sentences ship captain for Libya pushback
  7. Polish PM and von der Leyen to clash in Brussels next week
  8. MEPs call for improved roaming rules

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. MEPs urge Sassoli to sue EU Commission on rule of law
  2. MEPs seek EU law on bogus anti-media litigation
  3. Africa seeks EU help on global vaccine-waiver
  4. Giant of 20th century European design recognised by EU
  5. Italy on edge as neo-fascists stir violence
  6. Gas-price spike will backfire on industry, energy guru says
  7. Scientists raise alarm on Greenland's ice-sheet loss
  8. EU calls for ban on Arctic oil and gas drilling

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us