Press release


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Car emissions scandal

EU Commission has serious questions to answer on prior knowledge of illegal manipulation


Commenting on the latest revelation that the European Commission had evidence in 2011 already that car manufacturers were using illegal manipulation to avoid complying with EU pollutant limits for vehicles (1), Green environment spokesperson and vice-president Bas Eickhout said:

"The European Commission has serious questions to answer over revelations that it failed to act on evidence it received in 2011 that car manufacturers were using illegal manipulation to avoid complying with EU car pollution rules. We already knew that the Commission had sat on its hands in the face of evidence that many vehicles on the market exceeded EU pollution norms; it would however be scandalous if the Commission ignored evidence of illegal manipulation. It implies that EU industry commissioner Bienkowska misrepresented the facts when she represented the Commission in a debate with the Parliament on the issue.

"This must be fully investigated and, if confirmed, there must be consequences for this dereliction of duty by the Commission. We call on commissioner Bienkowska to urgently address the matter in the European Parliament. The issue also underlines the need for a fully-fledged inquiry in the European Parliament. We would urge other political groups to now row-in behind this initiative, as it is clearly in the public interest that this scandal is properly investigated and it is clear that the Commission, including former industry commissioner Tajani, must also be the subject of any investigation.

"This latest scandal also throws a new light on the scandalous decision on 'real emissions tests', which would fundamentally undermine existing EU law on car pollution limits. We are now pushing for broad political support to overturn the decision by EU governments to allow car manufacturers produce and market cars that exceed EU legal limits on pollutants under the so-called 'real driving emissions' test procedure. Parliament should reject this and urge the Commission to come back with a real driving emissions test that does what it says on the tin: with no exemptions and which ensures all cars approved for the market comply with the EU's pollutant limits. We know this is technically possible, as many carmakers already do. Anything else would be a failure for the EU."

(1) The German publication Wirtschafts Woche has published the allegation today http://www.wiwo.de/unternehmen/auto/vw-abgas-skandal-eu-kommission-ueber-betrug-bei-abgasmessungen-seit-2011-informiert/12583478.html