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 Index 
 Full text 
Procedure : 2016/0014(COD)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A8-0048/2017

Texts tabled :

A8-0048/2017

Debates :

PV 04/04/2017 - 5
CRE 04/04/2017 - 5

Votes :

PV 04/04/2017 - 7.2
CRE 04/04/2017 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0097

Debates
Tuesday, 4 April 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

5. Approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
MPphoto
 

  Daniel Dalton, rapporteur . – Mr President, I would like to start by thanking the shadow rapporteurs, as is customary. We got to know each other very well during the many hours of discussions we had on this report. We had some disagreements, as is expected on a file of this importance, but I believe that we have come to a very good compromise in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection in the end.

Let us be clear: the Volkswagen scandal – and it was not just Volkswagen, but we have called it the Volkswagen scandal – was the tip of the iceberg. Consumers have been treated with contempt for a long, long time. They long ago gave up any trust in the fuel consumption claims that are made by manufacturers, and now they know that the emissions claims are wrong as well. This was a scandal that was waiting to happen.

But what we have here in front of us now is a fundamental change from the current system and a very good compromise. It is far from the status quo. Firstly, we have new tests. The RDE testing means cars that will be tested on the roads, not just in the labs. That is a fundamental change from the system that existed before. Secondly, we have a new market-surveillance system. Member States have an obligation under this proposal to test 20% of types every year. They have to have their plans approved by the Commission, and the Commission is also empowered to do whatever tests it wants to do in addition. Thirdly, we have a new forum, which the Commission will direct and with independent peer review. So the Commission will get all the information it needs from Member States, stakeholders, NGOs and civil society in order to know the problems much, much earlier and have the tools to deal with them.

Every Member State has to apply the same rules. There are fewer opportunities now for forum shopping and independent auditors will check on a periodic basis that rules are applied fairly and clearly. Fees cannot be paid directly by manufacturers to testing centres, which deals with the concerns that many had about manufacturers’ influence. And we have a proposal on consumer redress. The fines will go into a fund that will help consumers and the environment.

This is a big, broad and ambitious package which got huge support in the Internal Market Committee. No one change in the system will prevent fraud, but together all these changes will guard against, firstly, cars incorrectly being put on the market, and, secondly, cars being on the market for a long time before a fault is found. We cannot stop all non-compliant products getting on the market. If someone wants to cheat the system, they are going to try and cheat the system, but we need to make sure that we have a system that is as strong as possible to catch them when they do it.

I would also remind everyone that type-approval is not just about emissions. It is primarily about safety standards for cars on our roads. I also want to touch on the agency because we have had a big debate about the agency, which is still raging today. I am not against an agency if it can be proven that there is a benefit from the agency, but so far I have not seen a benefit. I have yet to see a consumer who wants an agency that is remote from the market and hidden from the consumer.

The justification also seems to be weak. Agencies are just as susceptible to political pressure as the Commission or Member States, and this gives an excuse for national Member States not to act when they should be acting. It has not been costed, there is no detailed impact assessment and there is no idea how it is going to manage the market surveillance system. Let us be clear: this will cost a lot of money and we need to be right, sure and confident that it is going to do the job before we propose it.

I also have a bit of concern with one of the amendments from the Greens: Amendment 343, on what I would call a ‘victim’s levy’. This will effectively be a fine on people who want to buy new cars.

This is a little bit like you getting mugged, the police coming to you and saying ‘we’re terribly sorry we didn’t stop you getting mugged, but we’ll take a bit more money out your pocket to try and stop it happening again’. This is not the right way to deal with the issue. It is not the right way to fund an agency or any of these measures. So I do not think we should be going down that line.

As I said before, we have got a good agreement in the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection that was supported by most Members. It is robust, good for consumers, good for the environment and fair for industry. I do not think we should confuse that issue with an agency. But now I am looking forward to hearing all your remarks. I know that there are going to be plenty of remarks, and I am looking forward to a very good debate.

 
Last updated: 27 September 2017Legal notice