Wednesday

15th Jul 2020

Commission expands legal action to Italy over Dieselgate

  • Germany is worried that a Fiat model, not the one pictured, is more polluting on the road than during the test, because of an illegal defeat device (Photo: Teresa Kluge)

The European Commission told Italy on Wednesday (17 May) that it needs to do more to make sure diesel cars produced by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) adhere to EU pollution limits.

The commission is concerned Italy took “insufficient action” and opened a so-called infringement procedure against Italy. It could eventually lead to the country being fined by the Court of Justice of the EU.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The case revolves around a type of diesel car produced by FCA, an Italian-US company, which the German transport ministry said contained illegal software that made the car appear cleaner in the official test than it was in actual road use – a so-called defeat device.

Italy denied the allegation that a Fiat 500X contained a defeat device, leading Germany to ask the EU commission to mediate between the two sides last September.

In March, the commission closed the mediation process, but without determining definitively whether the car contained an illegal defeat device or not.

Neither the Italian nor the German ministries ever responded to requests for clarification from EUobserver.

The EU commission is now asking Italy to prove that the defeat device, which may be allowed under exceptional circumstances, is really necessary.

The announcement followed previous infringement procedures that the commission already opened against seven other member states last December.

Most notably, it said that Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, and the UK had broken EU law by not fining Volkswagen Group (VW) for diesel cars with illegal defeat devices. These four countries were the ones in which VW had acquired its car approvals.

Meanwhile, discussions are still ongoing on how to improve the car approval system.

The European Parliament last month sided with the EU commission, saying that it wanted to make the system more European. However, member states initially appeared reluctant.

Sources close to the Council of the EU – where the representatives of member states meet – say that enough progress has been made for the file to move to the level of ministers, at their meeting in Brussels on 29 May.

Investigation

Fiat questions 'fantastical' EU emissions tests

Italian-American car maker Fiat had "no explanations" for tests showing its cars polluted above EU limits when questioned by MEPs, described some tests as “fantastical”.

EU 'failed to protect bees and pollinators', report finds

EU auditors concluded on Thursday that EU key policies adopted to protect and halt the decline of pollinators across the bloc have been largely inefficient and called on the European Commission to better address this issue.

News in Brief

  1. EU Commission loses case against Apple tax-ruling
  2. EU drops environmental rules to speed Covid-19 vaccine
  3. MEPs close gap between lab and real car-emission tests
  4. Serbia and Montenegro off EU's safe travel list
  5. Saudi millions put Spanish royal family in spotlight
  6. EU says no state aid to tax-haven linked firms
  7. First elections in North Macedonia since name change
  8. Protests in Belarus after Lukashenko challengers barred

Regions urge EU to act on 'green hydrogen'

The EU's regions urged the unlocking of the potential of hydrogen produced from renewable sources, so-called 'green hydrogen', to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

France shuts oldest reactor amid Macron climate pledges

France's oldest nuclear power plant finally closed on Tuesday, one day after president Emmanuel Macron pledged to speed up the country's transition to a greener economy responding to the proposals from the French citizens' convention on climate.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Orban raises summit stakes with 'blackmail' conditions
  2. Antwerp's Uigher refugee from China: where's my family?
  3. UK bans Huawei from 5G network in major U-turn
  4. Four tweets broke Facebook - good news for EU regulators
  5. Good news on the European Citizens' Initiative
  6. EU prepares response to China over Hong Kong
  7. EU to keep corporate sponsorship of presidencies
  8. 'Passengers' became 'lenders' to airlines hit by pandemic

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us