VW emissions scandal may be tip of the iceberg
The European Parliament's Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) heard today the testimony of four European Commission representatives from the Type-Approval Authorities Expert Group (TAAEG) and Technical Committee on Motor Vehicles (TCMV).
This is the first time that Commission representatives provided testimony to the Committee. The Commission had been criticised for its lack of cooperation with the Committee’s mandate. Former Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Günter Verheugen refused to attend an earlier hearing. EMIS requested access to further documents to be able to dig deeper into this emissions scandal but the Commission is yet to oblige.
GUE/NGL MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis questioned the Commission representatives for failure to take action after the Joint Research Centre (JRC) 2013 report alerted about the possibility of cheating in emissions tests. The Commission acknowledged the risks but alleged there was no concrete evidence to justify action.
“Even if we take at face value the Commission’s claim that there was no concrete evidence that indicated cheating in emissions tests, the Commission should have launched an investigation to check whether the car manufacturers were using defeat devices based on the suspicions raised in the JRC's reports,” said the Cypriot MEP.
The Commission contended that it was the member states’ responsibility to check compliance with regulations, including compliance with emissions standards. Sylikiotis emphasized that “monitoring the development of national policies and the enforcement of the EU legislation by national authorities is clearly in the European Commission’s mandate.”
Sylikiotis expressed concern that the scandal is being contained and that the cheating may be widespread. He grilled the Commission on whether steps are being taken to confirm these suspicions and other proactive measures to prevent future fraud.
“The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) published the initial results of the diesel emissions screening campaign conducted by the French and the results give credence to suspicions that VW is not the only culprit and that the problem is more widespread and affects other car manufacturers,” charged Sylikiotis.