S&Ds grill Verheugen on discrepancies in laws for emissions of trucks/buses and cars

Emissions scandal: S&D MEP reveals authorities knew existence of cheat devices as far back as 1998, Seb Dance, European Parliament's emissions test scandal inquiry, air pollution crisis,

Today S&D members of the parliamentary committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) questioned Günter Verheugen, who was the EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry from 2004 to 2010.

S&D MEPs grilled the former Commissioner on the differences between the rules regulating defeat devices for cars and those for trucks and buses.

S&D vice-president and chair of the EMIS committee Kathleen Van Brempt MEP said:

“I am happy that Günter Verheugen finally accepted the invitation to speak and explain why certain decisions were taken at the time. We certainly need transparency and political accountability about what happened. It is obvious that something went wrong and we must understand why, so that we can take the necessary measures.

“His account today was very important for the work of this committee. But this is only the beginning. We will collect more evidence on the Barroso Commission and how it dealt with car emissions when former Commissioners Antonio Tajani and Janez Potočnik answer our questions."

S&D spokesperson on the Inquiry Committee, Seb Dance MEP, said:

"It is astonishing that such clear linguistic differences were proposed and agreed upon by the Commission for rules banning defeat devices for trucks and buses, and for cars.

"Why would the Commission propose two sets of rules that aim to tackle the same problem? Why did the Commission not include a reference to the type-approval test procedure in the definition of defeat devices for cars, despite the fact similar wording had proven to be effective in stopping emissions cheating in the heavy-duty vehicles sector?

"If the Commission was aware of the dangers of defeat devices more than 15 years ago for trucks and buses, why were these definitions not used for subsequent legislation for cars?"

Note to the editors:

In 1998 the US Environment Protection Agency accused several heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers of installing illegal defeat devices. The European Commission updated the Directive for Heavy Duty Vehicles (Directive 88/77/EC) introducing definitions and limitations of defeat devices into Directive 2001/27/EC. However, these updated definitions were not copied into subsequent legislation for emissions from Light Duty Vehicles (Regulation 715/2007).