Car approvals: EP/Council deal to prevent further emissions scandals
- New “type approval” rules to guarantee that cars on the roads are clean and safe
- Environmental and safety testing to be more independent
- A minimum of 500 models of cars of various ages will have to be tested by member states each year
Parliament and Council negotiators agreed Thursday on EU rules to fix the weaknesses that allowed the emissions scandal to happen and to rebuild consumer trust.
“Type approval” is the process whereby national authorities certify that a vehicle model meets all EU safety, environmental and production requirements before it can be placed on the market. The agreed text strengthens European oversight over the whole car approval system to make sure that the updated rules are applied uniformly and effectively throughout the EU.
The text provisionally agreed by the co-legislators clarifies, inter alia, the responsibilities of national type approval authorities, testing centres and market surveillance bodies, in order to reinforce their independence and prevent conflicts of interest.
The new rules also establish a minimum number of vehicle checks that will have to be performed annually by member states’ market surveillance authorities.
Daniel Dalton (ECR, UK), the Internal Market Committee rapporteur who steered this legislation through Parliament, said “This is the final step in fixing a broken system. It is good news for car owners, who can be sure their vehicles perform as they're supposed to; for manufacturers, who can be sure that competitors aren't cheating the regulations; and for air quality. No longer will illegally polluting cars make it onto our roads undetected."
Measures included in the provisional agreement include:
- car owners will be reimbursed if they make repairs on vehicles to fix issues later subject to a manufacturer's recall,
- independent garages will have access to information on vehicles they need to compete with dealers and help drive down prices,
- if there is any repeat of VW-style cheating of emissions tests, national governments and, if necessary, the European Commission, will be able to levy fines and
- the testing system will be much more transparent, with third parties able to access the data.
The provisional agreement still needs to be confirmed by the EU member states’ ambassadors (COREPER) and by Parliament’s Internal Market Committee. The draft regulation would then be put to a vote by the full Parliament in an upcoming plenary session (possibly in April, tbc) and formally approved by the EU Council of Ministers. The new rules would be applicable from 1 September 2020.