Wednesday

12th May 2021

EU commissioner condemns 'delay' in post-Dieselgate reform

  • Bienkowska: 'There is systematic failure in the type approval system in Europe.' (Photo: European Commission)

EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska has expressed her frustration towards member states' “delay” in moving forward with a reform of how car types are approved in Europe.

“There is no time to lose. We really need a robust new type approval system. It's been more than a year now,” she said at a ministerial meeting in Brussels on Monday (20 February).

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

Bienkowska proposed the reform in January 2016, four months after the Dieselgate scandal erupted, which saw Volkswagen cheating on emissions tests.

But while the European Parliament's lead inquiry committee voted on its version of the legislative proposal earlier this month, the Council – where member states gather – still has several outstanding issues.

For example, they do not agree on whether to accept the European Commission's proposal to have more oversight and emissions testing at EU level, or to require from national approving authorities that they check each other in peer-reviews.

Maltese economy minister Christian Cardona, who chaired the meeting because his country holds the six-month rotating presidency, said he hoped ministers could come to a compromise in May.

While Bienkowska thanked the Maltese for their efforts, she said there was “too little progress to show in Council”.

She repeated a request she made in November to speed up the process, and a statement she made in front of MEPs recently, that the Dieselgate affair has not significantly changed "some" member states' attitudes.

“Let me be clear. This is not only about Volkswagen,” she said. “There is systematic failure in the type approval system in Europe.”

While the Polish commissioner did not name specific countries, opposition against greater EU oversight is coming from several large member states, including Germany and Italy.

These two countries' representatives gave general statements on Monday, saying they supported efforts to “reinforce” and “strengthen” the system, without publicly stating their vision on increased EU oversight.

According to the commissioner, the current system “is not credible at all”.

“It's really a bad signal to the public opinion that it takes so much time in the Council to push forward such a reasonable – and good for the citizens and consumers – proposal,” said Bienkowska.

After the meeting, Maltese minister Cardona told journalists that the Maltese council presidency is “very committed” to reaching a compromise among member states “as soon as possible”.

He noted that the proposal was “highly complex” both from a political and technical perspective, and that “consultation with industry takes time”.

“We have doubled our resources in terms of this dossier. Give us some time please,” said Cardona.

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.

Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform

The EU commission wanted the power to hand out fines to cheating automakers, but the council limited the instances in which the commission can do so.

Interview

Dieselgate disappointed car-loving commissioner

Industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska often finds herself on opposite sides to the car industry, referring to diesel engines as the "technology of the past".

News in Brief

  1. Israeli rockets kill 20 people in Gaza retaliation
  2. No more EU expulsions likely over Russia bomb attacks
  3. EU ready to ignore Hungary veto on Hong Kong
  4. Borrell admits EU neglect of Western Balkans
  5. Macron accused of 'cowardice and deceit' in military letter
  6. EU citizens in UK applying for settled status face legal limbo
  7. Netherlands gives €2bn to offshore carbon storage project
  8. Germany will allow Johnson & Johnson vaccine for all ages

EU faces long wait for full vaccine supplies

The EU is still several months away from having enough vaccines to inoculate its 450 million people, with Pfizer and BioNTech, its principle suppliers, aiming for September for delivery targets.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region can and should play a leading role in Europe’s digital development
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council to host EU webinars on energy, digitalisation and antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Russia penetrated Merkel's 'inner circle', Khodorkovsky says
  2. First recovery euros could be paid out in July
  3. Commission wants help for Italy after weekend's migrant arrivals
  4. Mercosur trade deal will fuel 'poison pesticides' back into EU
  5. Can new Iran talks avoid mistakes of the original JCPOA?
  6. EU and US urge Israel to defuse Jerusalem violence
  7. Frontex 'mislabelling minors as adults' on Greek islands
  8. Has Albania really met the 15 tests to join the EU? No

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us