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 Full text 
Wednesday, 18 April 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles (debate)

  Daniel Dalton, rapporteur. – Mr President, this is a strong Europe-wide response to the ‘dieselgate’ scandal. This legislation will make cars safer and cleaner and, combined with the RDE testing, will ensure that a future ‘dieselgate’ can’t happen again. We have a unique system in Europe: national type approvals, which are mutually recognised across all EU countries. But ‘dieselgate’ exposed some of its limitations due to the testing process, lack of enforcement and lack of market surveillance.

For years, motorists have suspected that the advertised fuel performance of their vehicles was inaccurate and exaggerated. They were a joke, in fact. No one believed them, and ‘dieselgate’ proved them right. Millions of cars bought in good faith had been mis-sold due to deliberate attempts to manipulate laboratory test results. To many, it appears that ‘dieselgate’ affected everyone apart from the manufacturers to blame. Those affected are still waiting for proper compensation, whereas in the US, compensation has already been paid. So motorists in Europe are angry, and they’re rightly asking what we’re doing about it. We should all be concerned as well about the environmental damage of this, particularly in cities with poor air quality.

Overall, it has undermined trust in diesel vehicles. This package creates a rigorous and transparent framework for approving and checking the cars on our roads for emissions and safety. While emissions have caught the headlines recently, our new rules also guarantee safety standards. Airbags and seatbelts are all covered in these rules. New testing, too, will ensure that environmental protections are upheld. Transparent testing is essential to ensure that cars are safe and clean. Test results will, for the first time, be easily available for third parties online, who can check and verify results for cheating.

When something goes wrong, there must be a capacity to act, and under this regulation there are for the first time proper requirements for national authorities to significantly fine manufacturers at fault. If the national authorities fail to act, the Commission can levy fines instead. That European involvement and oversight is repeated in many parts of this regulation.

I am naturally sceptical of giving power to the Commission, but this scandal showed an umpire was needed to renew the trust that is needed in a system of national mutual recognition. The Commission will be carrying out regular reviews of type approval authorities who allow cars to drive on the road to make sure that they are doing their job. There will also be a forum, chaired by the Commission, providing greater oversight and sharing best practice of national authorities. Once cars are on the road, national authorities who failed to do so in the past, now have to check them. Hundreds of cars a year will be checked, with the spread of models and types to ensure that cheating will be caught.

The European Commission is also mandated to undertake spot checks on cars across the Union, targeted based on information Member States have to provide on their surveillance programmes. A double-check system to ensure that if another Volkswagen ever happened, it would be discovered quickly.

(The President interrupted the speaker because of a translation problem)

Vehicles found not in conformity will also be subject to a rapid EU-wide recall system where needed.

I started by talking about those affected by ‘dieselgate’. For them, this regulation makes the law clear that if consumers carry out repairs themselves to faulty vehicles later subject to recalls, they will be reimbursed for the costs incurred. Consumers also rely on an independent and healthy aftermarket for local and good-quality service, and this has been an issue for me and I am grateful to colleagues here for their support on this.

I am pleased to have achieved improved access to manufacturer information for independent repairers. This makes the market stronger for the benefit of consumers.

In conclusion, this regulation delivers a stronger, more transparent system to ensure cars on our roads are safe and clean. It delivers for car owners, for the environment and for manufacturers, with standards fairly applied and appropriately applied across the board. I want to thank all the shadow rapporteurs for their work. and to Cameron Smith and Alex Davis in my office for the immense work that they have done. I put this report to the Parliament and I look forward to hearing your views in today’s debate.

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