Friday

12th Aug 2022

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.

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".

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.

Brazil pitches itself as answer to Ukraine war food shortages

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is pitching his Latin American country as the answer to the world food crisis following the war in Ukraine. The traditional wheat importer has now exported three million tonnes of the grain so far in 2022.

Opinion

Exploiting the Ukraine crisis for Big Business

From food policy to climate change, corporate lobbyists are exploiting the Ukraine crisis to try to slash legislation that gets in the way of profit. But this is only making things worse.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts new season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us