Press Release

MEPs and Commission must stand up for citizens after Ministers waterdown Dieselgate reforms

May 29, 2017

MEPs and the European Commission must stand firm on delivering a proper fix of Europe’s system of testing and approving cars, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment has said, after EU governments today agreed to waterdown some of the reforms. Governments opposed independent EU-level oversight of national type approval authorities – the regulators which allowed Volkswagen and other carmakers to cheat vehicle emissions tests and put 35 million dirty diesel cars on our roads. [1]

The governments also deleted a proposal to end direct payments by carmakers for testing services – a clear conflict of interest. However, despite Germany’s opposition, the Maltese presidency of the EU secured governments’ backing for checks on vehicles after they have been sold.

Julia Poliscanova, clean vehicles and air quality manager at T&E, said: “After almost two years and despite Germany’s opposition to the reform, ministers have finally agreed their position. The governments’ reforms fall short on ambition by exempting national car regulators from proper checks and allowing the current conflicts of interest to continue.”

Last month, after its Dieselgate inquiry (EMIS) highlighted national regulators’ failure to enforce existing defeat device rules and check cars rigorously, the European Parliament voted to strengthen type approval. It now faces a stand-off with the Council following today’s vote.

Julia Poliscanova concluded: “The European Parliament and Commission can show Europe’s value to its citizens by standing up for EU-wide checks on the work of regulators who have let us down. They can also break the financial link between carmakers and testers which has undermined the vehicle approval system and allowed millions of dirty diesels to poison Europeans.”

EU governments will now enter talks with MEPs and the European Commission. Agreement on the type approval reforms is expected to be reached by the end of the year. 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 properly.


Note to editors:

[1] 35 million dirty diesels are driving on Europe’s roads today, new research finds

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