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National enforcement of emissions standards for cars has been “virtually non-existent”, the European Parliament’s Dieselgate inquiry has been told. In a single market the rules must be enforced without national bias, but in Europe national testing authorities have frequently failed to resist pressures to treat their domestic industries favourably, according to Transport & Environment (T&E), the environmental group which warned of carmakers cheating years before Volkswagen was caught by the US authorities.
T&E executive director Jos Dings this evening told the EMIS inquiry: “To work, Europe’s internal market requires both robust common rules and consistent enforcement. With vehicles we have neither. Member states and industry should stop blaming Brussels for the regulations needed to make the European project and internal market work. Emissions regulations protect citizens and create the level playing field on which industry should compete – both are currently being shamelessly abused.”
Following years of resistance by the car industry to any form of regulation, national governments have now started to listen and joined in Brussels red tape-bashing. Citizens throughout Europe are disillusioned and the UK referendum result now threatens to throw out the baby of the internal market with the bathwater of the rules that govern it, including environmental protections.
Jos Dings concluded: “Industry can’t have its cake and eat it. Either it decides that EU red tape is the most important issue, and accepts the risk that politicians tell their voters we should vote to leave that ‘monster’ that creates so much of it. Or it decides it really wants the internal market and accepts its consequences; that this comes with central rules and more central oversight.”