Press Release

Dieselgate inquiry backs establishment of EU testing regulator

February 28, 2017

MEPs today backed the establishment of a new EU agency to fix Europe’s broken vehicle approval system, which is central to avoiding a second Dieselgate. Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) said the European Parliament’s VW inquiry committee (EMIS) report brings us closer to the truth behind the diesel emissions scandal in Europe and how it should have been avoided.

In their final report, MEPs highlighted national regulators’ failure to both enforce existing defeat device rules and check cars rigorously for contravening EU law. The result of this failure is 29 million dirty diesel cars and vans driving on Europe’s roads today. Volkswagen’s cheating and, more recently, Fiat’s special treatment are the tip of a cheating iceberg to which national authorities continue to turn a blind eye, even after the revelations.

Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles and air quality manager at T&E, said: “The Dieselgate inquiry rightly finds that national regulators failed to enforce the emissions rules. So long as enforcement continues to be the exclusive responsibility of national authorities, collusion with domestic carmakers will thrive and dirty diesels will continue poisoning the public. The committee has correctly identified that Europe urgently needs a body to oversee carmakers and the national authorities paralysed by regulatory capture.”

Following today’s vote, which is not legally binding, the inquiry’s MEPs have a unique opportunity to feed their recommendations directly into legislation on reforming type approval. The reforms will be voted on by the entire plenary in the coming weeks.

Julia Poliscanova concluded: “At the heart of the Dieselgate scandal in Europe lies a testing system that is shrouded in secrecy and cronyism. All MEPs must now follow their EMIS colleagues and demand Europe’s testing authorities put public health above the economic interests of national car champions by establishing an independent agency to oversee vehicle approvals.”

More than 70,000 Europeans die prematurely each year from high levels of nitrogen dioxide in cities, according to the European Environment Agency. Carmakers could have prevented many of these deaths by complying with Euro 5 and 6 rules.

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