S&D MEP Kathleen Van Brempt to chair the dieselgate inquiry committee
At its first meeting this morning, the 45-member committee of inquiry into the Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) appointed Kathleen Van Brempt as chair.
S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:
"It was our clear and strong commitment and we delivered on this. From the very beginning we have taken the lead to ensure that a committee of inquiry be set up in this parliament. The aim of this committee is not to blame and shame car manufacturers or other stake holders but to inform the debate on how to improve the current EU legislation. It is for the good of consumers, but also for the whole automotive sector."
S&D vice-president Kathleen Van Brempt said:
"The 'dieselgate' scandal rocked consumer trust in the car industry at a time when people are increasingly conscious about the environmental impact of the products they buy. It is a crucial sector to our economy, and we cannot have a situation where consumers do not have faith in the car industry's ability to meet existing standards. This is especially true when we are talking about our citizens' health. More than 400,000 premature deaths in the EU are due to air pollution.
"We should leave aside any partisan divide in this committee and concentrate our collective efforts on what went wrong and shining a light on why the fraudulent software installed in Volkswagen diesel vehicles was detected by United States' authorities and not by those responsible in the EU.
"Citizens expect us to advance towards an 'ever cleaner Union' and to protect their health; firstly by ensuring that the environmental legislation in place is robust, ambitious and bulletproof; and secondly that this legislation is properly implemented and enforced."
Seb Dance, the newly elected S&D coordinator in the EMIS committee, said:
"The 'dieselgate' scandal has highlighted the deep flaws in the EU's current emissions test regime for cars and how little the Commission and member states did to tackle the problem.
"We need to get to the bottom of this scandal and find out whether officials in the Commission and member states, who should have been acting in the public interest, had evidence related to the use of defeat software and chose not to act.
"This inquiry committee will be an important step towards recovering trust in the effectiveness of European environment legislation and also the car industry, ensuring it is at the forefront of delivering new generations of cleaner technology. We must learn lessons from the scandal and make sure something like this never happens again."