Car pollution scandal
EU Parliament inquiry committee takes shape
The European Parliament today voted to approve the composition of the new parliamentary inquiry committee, set up to investigate the car pollution scandal. The 45 member committee will include 3 Green members: Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms (DE), Bas Eickhout (NL) and Karima Delli (FR) (the Greens/EFA group also has 3 substitute members: Julia Reda, Claude Turmes and Bronis Rope). The committee will have a chairperson and 4 vice-chairs.
The committee, which will begin its work next month, will deliberate for 12 months, holding hearings with key representatives from the European Commission and national authorities. It will investigate the regulatory breakdown in the EU, both as regards the illegal manipulation of pollutant emissions tests for cars and the failure to ensure the pollutant limits for cars, set out in EU law, were implemented (1). The committee will produce an interim report on its findings after 6 months and conclude with a final report summarising its findings and making policy recommendations.
Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms stated:
"The European Parliament inquiry into the car pollution scandal is an important step in ensuring the implications of the scandal are properly dealt with at EU level. With indications that the European Commission is implicated in the wider scandal, it was essential that the EP assume responsibility for investigating the revelations and the consequences to be drawn. We will work to ensure this inquiry committee carries out a rigorous investigation and makes robust recommendations for EU follow-up.”
Greens/EFA vice-president and environment spokesperson Bas Eickhout added:
"The inquiry must focus on the roles played by responsible national authorities and the EU Commission in allowing this regulatory breakdown to occur. The Commission has serious questions to answer over revelations it failed to act on indications that car manufacturers were using manipulation to avoid complying with EU car pollution rules. It must also explain why it sat on its hands in the face of evidence that many vehicles on the market exceeded EU pollution norms."
(1) The committee will investigate:
• the alleged failure of the Commission to keep test cycles under review,
• the alleged failure of the Commission and member states’ authorities to take proper and effective action to oversee enforcement and to enforce the explicit ban on ‘defeat devices’,
• the alleged failure of the Commission to introduce tests reflecting the real-world driving conditions,
• the alleged failure of member states to lay down provisions on effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties applicable to manufacturers for infringements, and
• whether the Commission and the member states had evidence of the use of ‘defeat mechanisms’ before the scandal emerged on 18 September 2015.