A step in the right direction, but Parliament fails to deliver independent EU oversight
The European Parliament has voted today on both the findings and recommendations of the Dieselgate inquiry committee and the draft legislation on type approval of vehicles. The Greens/EFA group was instrumental in securing an inquiry into Dieselgate. Today was the first opportunity for all MEPs to translate its findings and recommendations into legislative action.
Pascal Durand, Greens/EFA shadow on the type approval legislation, comments:
"The introduction of EU-level market surveillance for vehicles is a step in the right direction. The European Commission will now be obliged to check that member states comply with legislation. We have also secured important changes to help break the cosy relationship between national authorities, car manufacturers, and the technical bodies in charge of the testing. The legislation also contains welcome steps towards greater transparency, with the Commission required to make public when it questions the non-compliance of a vehicle, giving consumers a better understanding of emerging problems. While these steps are welcome, they are an insufficient response to a scandal of this scale. Consumers deserve stronger protection, yet MEPs failed to back our calls for a right to refund or repair in cases of non-compliance."
Bas Eickhout, Greens/EFA member of the Dieselgate inquiry, adds:
"This vote was the first test of whether or not the European Parliament would take the conclusions of its own inquiry committee seriously. But when it came to the key vote on the establishment of an independent agency, MEPs sadly failed that test. An independent agency would create much greater transparency, bringing any wrongdoing on the part of car manufacturers out into the open, and forcing the Commission to take action. With MEPs failing to back this recommendation, the power of decision-making remains with the European Commission, despite their maladministration in allowing Dieselgate to happen. It seems that the full lessons of Dieselgate have yet to be learned."
In the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, the Greens/EFA group demanded an inquiry committee. The subsequent Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) committee approved its final report earlier in February. The Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee has been working in parallel on the legislation on approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles (or “type approval”).