Commission infringement procedure finally addresses member states’ accountability for Dieselgate
The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament welcome the decision by commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska to open infringement procedures against 7 member states which did not fulfil their duties under EU vehicle emissions legislation.
S&D MEPs in the committee of inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector (EMIS) had called on industry commissioner Bieńkowska to keep her promise of bringing action against member states for failing to comply with their obligations under EU emissions legislation and disregarding EU vehicle type approval rules.
Today's notice brings action against the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Greece for failing to implement penalties to deter malpractice by car companies; and also against Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and the United Kingdom – the member states that granted type approval to Volkswagen - for not applying their national provisions on penalties despite the company's use of illegal defeat device software.
Seb Dance, S&D spokesperson on the Dieselgate scandal, responded:
“These infringements are the first major success for this inquiry committee, and it shows that public scrutiny and transparency work.
"Our work in EMIS has showed that national governments simply cannot be trusted to take action against their own national car industries, even where malpractice has clearly taken place. Dieselgate happened because of member states' reluctance to properly enforce vehicle emissions legislation and failure to monitor compliance by car manufacturers.
“Today's action further highlights the need for enhanced European oversight of type approval and market surveillance in member states. S&Ds call on member states in the Council to support our proposal to establish an independent European Vehicle Surveillance Agency (EVSA), which would add an extra layer of control upon the national supervisors and avoid the situation we see today where national supervisors look to protect their own car industry.
“It is essential now that the Commission come forward with its promised interpretation guidelines on the use of defeat devices without delay so that member states can take action on cars deemed to be in breach of the legislation. If governments continue to stall, then the Commission must come again with more infringements to ensure cars on the road in Europe are clean.”