Tuesday

21st Feb 2017

Investigation

Dieselgate MEPs ask colleagues to 'reject status quo'

  • Chairwoman Kathleen Van Brempt with one of the hearing's witnesses, former environment commissioner Potocnik (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament's Dieselgate inquiry committee is trying to prevent a proposal to reform the EU's system of car approvals from being watered down.

The chairwoman of the committee, centre-left Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, said in a letter to her counterpart in the committee on the internal market and consumer protection (Imco) Vicky Ford, that the committee had “strong support” for the legislative proposal the European Commission tabled in January.

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The letter, dated Friday (21 October), was seen by this website.

The reform of the so-called type approval system had already been planned, but was spiced up after it emerged in September 2015 that Volkswagen Group had been able to fool regulators with cheating software.

The commission proposed greater EU oversight, although it also suggested several powers should remain with member states.

“We believe that this proposal includes the bare minimum requirements that the new EU type approval system should have,” Van Brempt wrote.

“In our view, these requirements should be preserved, and all attempts to dilute this much-needed reform and to keep the inefficient and dysfunctional status quo must be rejected.”

The suggestion that the proposal is being diluted, refers to the draft report written by Ford's political friend, British Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton.

Dalton recently told EUobserver that he believed if the commission would have more oversight, it might “undermine the current system”, and see national authorities grow lax.

Some MEPs have suggested that the legislation should go even further than what the commission proposed and that the EU should set up an independent EU agency responsible for approving cars.

Van Brempt writing to Imco said it “is not yet ready to express a definitive preference for one or the other system”, but that members from all political groups agreed “that the status quo does not represent an option”.

The Imco committee will discuss the legislative file again on 9 November.

Dieselgate shows weakness of EU federalism-lite

EU states are hesitant to transfer power to Brussels, but the case of how car certification works, or doesn't work, in practice gives few arguments to supporters of the status quo.

Analysis

EU governments duck responsibility on dieselgate

If VW had cheated on emissions in the Netherlands, its fine would have been just €19,500. “I didn't think about the fines before,” the Dutch transport minister says.

EU told of possible emission cheating in 2012

The Joint Research Centre said in 2012 that a diesel vehicle was emitting much more nitrogen oxide (NOx) when the outside temperature was different from the laboratory parameters.

Dieselgate: MEPs want to give EU more testing powers

EU Commission should have power to veto national car testing programmes, MEPs in lead committee agreed. Meanwhile EU commissioner Bienkowska says member states have learned little from emissions crisis.

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