The S&D Group calls for an inquiry committee on the car emissions scandal

The S&D Group calls for an inquiry committee on the car emissions scandal, 28 EU environment and industry ministers, environmental standards in Europe and legally binding emission limits, Matthias Groote MEP, Kathleen Van Brempt, citizens' health, The Tec

At its meeting yesterday evening, the Group of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament decided to call for an inquiry committee on the scandal of illegal defeat software designed to manipulate the real car emissions.

In parallel, the Social Democrats today sent a letter* to all 28 EU environment and industry ministers in which they call on the ministers to substantially modify the draft decision taken by the Commission on the basis of a deliberation of technical experts on 28 October, that would in turn mean easing car emissions standards. The S&D Group will not accept a decision that undermines the environmental standards in Europe and legally binding emission limits agreed in the legislative process.

S&D spokesperson on environment and health, Matthias Groote MEP, said:

"There are new elements in this scandal which makes it necessary for the Parliament to set up an inquiry committee. We must know what happened, where the flaws or loopholes in the emissions legislation and implementation are and where the compliance regime failed.

"According to news published yesterday, the European Commission was informed about illegal software to hide real emissions back in 2012. We recently called on the Commission to hold a thorough investigation into the emissions scandal, but now it's important to understand what failed and why we had to learn about the fraudulent software through the United States.

"The courts are already investigating the fraud, and the inquiry committee should focus on alleged maladministration of the Commission and the member states' authorities on implementation of environment legislation in the automotive sector."

S&D vice-president on sustainability, Kathleen Van Brempt said:

"Fraud must be prevented, even more so when it affects our citizens' health. We now have two lines of action to take: to find out where the compliance regime of the EU Commission and the member states failed and to implement the right measures so that it in the future all cars will meet the imposed emission limit values also in real world use.

In this regard, we reject the outcome of the Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV) in their meeting on October 28th. It undermines decisions taken by two co-legislators, European Parliament and the Council, and goes evidently beyond the empowerment contained in the Basic Regulation on emission limits, by creating a derogation from applicable emission limits. 

"The proposed margins of tolerance for emissions (conformity factors) are so large that they completely weaken the emission limit values already agreed upon in 2007. We cannot just go back in time. This is why today we sent a letter to the ministers asking their respective member states to re-evaluate these positions in the light of alarming health problems of European citizens caused by air pollution and evident weakening of the primary legislation through comitology process.

"Ahead of the important COP 21 climate conference we cannot just accept failing environmental legislation and send the wrong signal to the world on our commitment to clean technologies".

* See the letter here

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