Dieselgate: Ahead of crucial vote S&Ds push for consumer compensation and a European vehicle surveillance agency

car exhaust - ready to stop

After 12 months and 47 hearings in the Dieselgate inquiry committee, the European Parliament will next week draw the lessons from the scandal. On Tuesday, Parliament will debate and vote both on reports summarising the inquiry committee’s findings and recommendations, and on the first new EU law to prevent emissions cheating in the future.

The Socialists and Democrats have been pushing to tighten up the approval and surveillance of new cars in response to the Dieselgate scandal. Ahead of next weeks’ crucial vote in plenary the S&D Group is seeking a majority for new amendments tabled this week on a European vehicle surveillance agency and on consumer compensation.

Christel Schaldemose, MEP and S&D negotiator on type approval, said:

"The EMIS committee’s inquiry has clearly highlighted the responsibilities of national authorities and the Commission in the cover up of the car emissions scandal. The S&D Group is therefore pushing for a robust system of approval and surveillance for new vehicles. Drawing on the lessons of the Dieselgate scandal, there is a strong case for the establishment of an independent agency in order to eliminate conflicts of interests.

"The agency should have extensive powers. It should have the authority to impose vehicle recalls, type-approval withdrawals and administrative fines. It would eliminate the need for complex information exchange between national type-approval authorities (TAAs). A centralised agency would guarantee a level playing field for all manufacturers and ensure better environmental protection."

S&D shadow rapporteur, Christine Revault d'Allonnes Bonnefoy MEP, said:

"A strong European agency is indispensable to prevent future emissions cheating, and tightening up consumer compensation is a necessity for European general interest. We will not allow workers to shoulder the costs for a fraud their bosses committed. Protecting jobs must be a priority and where this is not possible workers should at least be given access to re-qualification opportunities, for instance in the domain of clean cars."

“Clean mobility is the future,” added Christine Revault d'Allonnes Bonnefoy MEP.  "The S&D Group calls for stricter ‘Euro 7’ emission limits to protect the environment and the health of Europeans. 90% of all Europeans living in cities are exposed to polluted air. Nearly half a million Europeans die every year prematurely from polluted air."

Seb Dance, MEP and S&D spokesperson on Dieselgate, said:

“The S&D Group is pushing for stronger rights for car consumers. Volkswagen has refused to pay out compensation to EU customers over the Dieselgate vehicle emissions scandal – despite having agreed a $10 billion settlement with drivers in the US. It is plainly unfair that Europeans are being treated as second-class consumers. We are calling on all MEPs to support our amendments for fair consumer compensation next week in plenary.”