At its final meeting today, the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) voted on its concluding report and draft recommendations ahead of the plenum approval which is scheduled for the part-session in April 2017.
The Committee was established 12-months ago with the mandate of investigating alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application of Union law in relation to emission measurements in the automotive sector following the so-called Volkswagen scandal.
GUE/NGL’s shadow rapporteur Neoklis Sylikiotis highlighted that the report attributes serious responsibility to the Commission and member states and that the Joint Research Centre (JRC) acknowledged in 2013 the possible use of defeat devices – which the Commission and member states failed to probe:
“Delays from Commission and member states to investigate possible fraud were due to wrong choices for political priorities, lobby influence and heavy pressure from the industry. Likewise, member states did not monitor and enforce Regulation (EC) No. 715/2007 that make car manufacturers comply with emissions targets in normal use and not only in laboratory conditions.”
Sylikiotis called for the strengthening of the proposals on consumer rights, stricter limits for NOx emissions and greater oversight on the Commission’s work:
“We have serious concerns and voted against the proposal to create a European Vehicle Surveillance Agency. We should instead enhance the work of the national type-approval and market surveillance authorities and make sure that the Commission does its job adequately in ensuring implementation of EU legislation.”
“Even if it is not clearly stated in the text, the Volkswagen case is not the only violation but the emissions political scandal is more widespread and prevents the efficient enforcement of EU legislation. People are suffering from air pollution coming from cars that were equipped with defeat devises. GUE/NGL we will work hard to stop such practices that have harmful consequences on human health and on the environment,” the Cypriot MEP added.
GUE/NGL MEP Kateřina Konečná, Vice-Chair of the EMIS committee, welcomed the main recommendations of the report:
“MEPs spent countless hours preparing for the investigation and questioning industry bosses, current and former Commissioners and consumer groups to reach recommendations that the EU and member states must now implement. We must make sure the blunders uncovered are not repeated.”
The Czech MEP called on swift action towards reform:
“I am concerned at the delays from member states to implement reforms with costs to the environment and consumer rights. European citizens are tired of the same old excuses, we must see real changes implemented in the aftermath of the Dieselgate scandal.”
“It is disconcerting that customers were left in the dark and are still struggling to be compensated – they deserve to know the truth. European consumers deserve the same compensation from VW as consumers in the US. Volkswagen is once again cheating European customers and this gives our citizens no choice but to sue them,” Konečná continued.
Finnish MEP Merja Kyllönen reiterated the group’s commitment to be the voice of the people in the fight against climate change:
“The fact that the scandal was uncovered in the US shows serious weaknesses and loopholes in the EU system. After a year of work I can see that the EU is moving towards a strong framework of compliance for the automotive industry in regards to European environmental standards.”
“Furthermore, the report lacks an overview of how it would fit within our efforts to stop climate change. The fact that little has been done to reduce emissions shows the EU prefers to walk around in blindfolds than to listen to our concerns,” Kyllönen concluded.