Sunday

16th May 2021

Report: Germany blocks post-Dieselgate reform

  • German chancellor Merkel visiting a Volkswagen stand at the Hannover Messe on Monday, with Polish prime minister Beata Szydlo (Photo: Kancelaria Premiera)

The German government continues to reject increased EU oversight in the approval of cars, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported in its Tuesday edition (25 April).

Germany is blocking key parts of a reform proposed by the European Commission in January 2016, shortly after it emerged that diesel cars produced by the German carmaker Volkswagen Group (VW) had been equipped with illegal emissions cheating software.

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

Following the scandal, which became known as Dieselgate, the Commission proposed to introduce more checks on the currently national system of approving cars.

Carmakers can choose in which EU country to run the tests needed for a so-called type approval, and many request them in a country where the car companies also contribute to the economy.

The testing laboratories have also come under scrutiny, with worries that direct payments by the companies whose car emissions they are supposed to test, can cause conflict of interests.

However, according to the newspaper, Germany is opposed to changing the way testing laboratories are paid. It also reported that the Germans do not want the national authorities in charge of granting approvals to be double-checked by an independent body.

Germany also has not yet reached a position on the proposal that the EU commission should be able to impose high fines on cheating carmakers if the national authority has not done so, the report said.

Nineteen months after the VW scandal broke, national authorities in Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and UK have not yet fined the group's daughter companies, Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, and Skoda, for which the respective authorities had granted approvals.

Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic are also slowing down the reforms, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said.

EUobserver reported in February that at least 12 member states were opposed to the Commission's proposal to have more powers to test cars independently.

If Germany, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic block the plan, it is increasingly unlikely that a deal will be reached by the time the responsible ministers meet at the end of May.

Meanwhile, suspicions of emissions cheating by other car companies continue to pop up.

On Monday, French prosecutors announced they had targeted Peugeot-Citroen for possible emissions fraud, after it had already started probes into Renault and Fiat-Chrysler.

MEPs oppose EU agency to prevent Dieselgate II

The European Parliament said on Tuesday that there should be more EU oversight on how cars are approved, but stopped short of calling for an independent EU agency.

Dieselgate report 'cannot be ignored'

“Dieselgate could have been avoided if member states and the Commission had followed European law. That is quite something,” rapporteur said.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

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. EU aims at 'zero pollution' in air, water and soil by 2050
  2. French police arrest Luxembourg former top spy
  3. Vaccine drives spur better-than-expected EU economic recovery
  4. Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office
  5. 'No place to hide' in Gaza, as fighting escalates
  6. EU chases 90m AstraZeneca vaccines in fresh legal battle
  7. Fidesz MEP oversees FOI appeals on disgraced Fidesz MEP
  8. Belgium outlines summer Covid relaxation plans

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us