The European Parliament's inquiry committee, set up to investigate the car pollution scandal, today met for the first time. The committee elected its chair and vice chair and is now set to 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. The committee will conclude with a final report summarising its findings and making policy recommendations.
The 45 member committee will include 3 Green members: Karima Delli (FR) will be a vice-chair of the committee, Bas Eickhout (NL) will coordinate the group's work and Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms (DE) will also sit on the committee. The Greens/EFA group also has 3 substitute members: Julia Reda, Claude Turmes and Bronis Rope.
Commenting at the outset of the meeting, Greens/EFA vice-president Bas Eickhout, who will coordinate the group's work on the committee said:
"We are happy parliament's dieselgate inquiry is finally up and running after a couple of months of internal wrangling. This inquiry is an important step in ensuring the implications of the car pollution scandal are properly dealt with at EU level. It must focus on the roles played by responsible national authorities and the EU Commission in allowing this regulatory breakdown to occur.
"Beyond clarifying the scandal of 'defeat devices', the inquiry must also assess evidence the European Commission failed to act on indications that car manufacturers were using manipulation to avoid complying with EU car pollution rules. The Commission must also explain why it sat on its hands in the face of evidence that many vehicles on the market exceeded EU pollution norms.
"It is important that there is cross political support for inviting key figures in the scandal to hearings. The list must include current EU industry commissioner Bienkowska and former commissioners Tajani and Verheugen, as well as former Volkswagen chairman Winterkorn and responsible representatives from national governments and type approval authorities. It is crucial that the EU Commission comply completely with the inquiry and that it has access to all relevant documents from the Council and Commission."
* For more detailed information on the committee and the work of the Greens/EFA group on the inquiry, please visit: www.diesel-gate.info
The Greens/EFA roadmap and expectations for the committee can be found at http://dieselgate.greens-efa.eu/greensefa-roadmap-for-the-committee-of-inquiry-15206.html