Car emissions: first committee findings and draft recommendations
Evidence of law enforcement shortcomings in EU member states as regards car emissions is set out in the draft report by the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS), published on Monday. The report and draft recommendations were prepared jointly by co-rapporteurs Jens Gieseke (EPP, DE) and Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL). EMIS will have a first public debate on the text on 12 January.
The draft text is a result of 10 months’ intensive work to reconstruct the events and collect evidence, in particular on the role of the EU Commission and member states before and after the car emission test cheating scandal. It focuses on discrepancies between the NOx emissions of diesel cars in the laboratory and on the road and on the process of adapting emissions tests to reflect real-world conditions.
The report presents evidence on the possible use of prohibited “defeat” devices and identifies gaps in the EU car type-approval system and shortcomings in the enforcement of the EU emissions legislation in the member states.
The findings are based on a factual section drafted by Parliament’s co-rapporteurs in cooperation with representatives of other political groups. The result is as far as possible a complete picture of the series of events which culminated in VW’s admission to the US authorities in September 2015 that it had installed a defeat device on some models.
"I am very pleased with the large consensus that could already be reached amongst shadow rapporteurs on the factual findings, based on the evidence gathered in our hearings, reports and questionnaires, said committee Chair Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D, BE). “I would also like to thank the co-rapporteurs for their draft conclusions and recommendations, which I think are a good and solid base for a broadly supported final report.”
“Great work has been done by all groups to achieve a balanced factual part of the report,” confirmed the co-rapporteur Jens Gieseke. “Now it is vital to continue the good co-operation between all groups on the conclusions and recommendations, which should equally be based on facts and not on assumptions or ideological beliefs. We need to ensure that the legal system on emission testing is improved to prevent fraud in future.”
As regards recommendations for the future, Gieseke expressed the view that “the hearings of experts showed that diesel still is a viable technology that contributes to reducing the CO2 emissions”.
"Dieselgate would not have happened if the national governments and the European Commission had acted on their legal and administrative responsibilities. The legal ban on defeat devices is clear, the problems uncovered by our investigation relate to undue delays in decision-making, negligence and maladministration,” added co-rapporteur Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy.
“I sincerely hope that we will manage to hold all the political players and institutions involved accountable for what went wrong and that our recommendations will contribute to an improvement of the policy making process and of the regime of type approval and market surveillance of cars. This is crucial to reduce air pollution, not only on paper or in the laboratory, but also on the road and in our cities and to restore the trust of consumers and citizens in European products and policy," concluded Ms Van Brempt.
In January, EMIS has planned four more hearings with ministers in charge of type approval in Italy and Slovakia, as well as with representatives of two additional car manufacturers, Audi and Opel.
Most of activities now will focus on negotiations among the political groups on the amendments tabled both to the conclusions of the draft report and to the draft recommendations. The draft report is to be put to committee vote on 28 February and the final plenary vote in April.