Friday

18th Aug 2017

Investigation

MEPs skip hearing scrutinising their role in Dieselgate

  • “I think we had a good hearing, but the attendance was really very low,” said chairwoman Van Brempt (Photo: EUobserver)

A European Parliament meeting aimed at shedding light on what the parliament itself could have done to prevent or detect emissions cheating was suspended on Monday (28 November) because of low attendance.

The parliament's inquiry committee into the Dieselgate scandal scheduled Monday's two-part meeting weeks ago.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The exchange of views was apparently not as tightly organised as it could be (Photo: Peter Teffer)

The first part heard from Denmark's former minister of environment, Ida Auken, but was attended by less than 10, of the 45 total, MEPs.

“I think we had a good hearing, but the attendance was really very low,” said committee chairwoman Kathleen Van Brempt, a centre-left Belgian MEP.

The second part was supposed to be an exchange of views with former rapporteurs and co-rapporteurs, including centre-left German MEP Bernd Lange.

Lange co-wrote, and negotiated on parliament's behalf, legislation on car emissions relevant to the parliament committee's investigation.

Van Brempt noted that the meeting would be suspended until centre-left German MEP Bernd Lange, chairman of the parliament's committee on international trade (Inta), showed up.

Van Brempt proposed a workaround for Lange's absence.

“Are you sure you want to say to the Inta committee, [Lange] has to leave the Inta committee, to come over here when there is so low attendance?” Van Brempt asked.

“We can do a written procedure as well."

MEP Jens Gieseke, from the centre-right EPP group, supported the written method, as did Seb Dance, his centre-left counterpart.

Anticlimax

The inquiry committee has investigated the Dieselgate scandal from various angles. Monday's meeting would have been the only one dedicated purely to the role of the parliament itself.

The cancellation is an anticlimax to months-long political struggle.

The EPP and ECR, another centre-right group, had insisted on hearing from Lange and another centre-left MEP, Matthias Groote. Several press releases were spent on making the case that they should show up, some connecting their reluctance to the fact that they share a political family with chairwoman Van Brempt.

Hans-Olaf Henkel, a German MEP from the ECR, was vocal in his demands to hear from them.

Henkel was initially present at Auken's hearing but left before it finished.

According to his social media, he went to attend parliament's industry committee, which hosted EU digital commissioner Guenther Oettinger.

Lange did eventually show up, minutes after most of the few MEPs present had left.

“I'm well prepared,” he told EUobserver, adding that he was “a little bit frustrated” it did not proceed.

Although the failure can be partly blamed on many committee meetings taking place simultaneously, it is quite clear attendance for the Dieselgate probe meetings has fallen to a core team of MEPs, as the committee's work is nearing its end.

No MEPs from the Greens, the far-left Gue, or the eurosceptic EFDD and ENF groups were present.

The exchange of views was also apparently not as tightly organised as it could be, Van Brempt noted that she “did not know” whether any of the shadow rapporteurs would be present for the hearing.

Belgian MEP Ivo Belet, who was present, since he is also member of the inquiry committee, told EUobserver: “I would have been ready.”

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides