Tuesday

23rd May 2017

Investigation

Bundestag to absolve German government on Dieselgate

  • The German government is not to blame for Dieselgate, say German MPs (Photo: Reuters)

Members of the lower house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, plan to fully exonerate the German government of any responsibility for emissions cheating by car manufacturers.

An investigative committee said in a draft report, seen by EUobserver, that the committee found “no reason” to criticise the German government.

  • The draft report clearly showed where the authors' loyalties lie: with the current German coalition. (Photo: Pierre)

A separate inquiry, carried out by members of the European Parliament in Brussels, however, came to a very different conclusion.

MEPs found that maladministration had helped to cause the scandal.

“The member states’ failure to organise an efficient market surveillance system constitutes a contravention of EU law,” the MEPs' report said, referring to all member states, including Germany.

But the German committee's text, which almost went as far as idolising the German federal government, clearly revealed the political bias of the MPs – a majority of whom support the current German coalition.

MPs praised the German government for swift action, obliging Volkswagen Group (VW) to carry out a recall of all diesel cars with emissions-cheating software. But no mention is made of the fact that the Merkel's government has not fined VW for breaking the EU ban on such software.

Instead, “inadequate” European rules are blamed for Germany's lack of on-road testing of emissions before the so-called Dieselgate scandal broke in September 2015.

Over the past year-and-a-half, it became clear that Dieselgate stretched further than just VW's cheating. Other carmakers also bend the law by claiming they can break EU emissions norms because of an exception in the law.

But according to the German MPs, that was only possible because the EU law does not give “sufficient basis” for national watchdogs to determine if a piece of emissions software is illegal or not.

The German MPs also criticised the final report produced by the European Parliament's inquiry committee, saying the conclusions provided “few starting points for effective solutions”.

The text also mocked the Bundestag's two opposition parties, which had set up the German inquiry committee.

The opposition had accused the government of “failure of the state”, which has “proved itself in every respect as a PR flop without foundation”, the draft report said.

The text also noted openly that the work of the committee proved that it had not been “needed” in the first place, and that the matter could have been dealt with in the Bundestag's regular transport committee.

“The committee has not produced any relevant new findings,” the draft report said.

Health experts to study Dieselgate impact

Scientists are aiming to provide a complete picture of the effects of the excess emissions of diesel cars, after they estimated VW's emissions test cheating would lead to 1,200 premature deaths in Europe.

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