Dieselgate: MEP delegation sets out to "restore confidence" in car industry

MEPs are this week visiting several member states as part of their efforts to "restore confidence" in the car industry in the wake of the damaging Volkswagen emissions scandal.

Car exhaust | Photo credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

21 Sep 2016


The deputies are members of a special committee set up by Parliament to probe the so-called dieselgate scandal.

The committee of inquiry into emission measurements in the automotive sector (EMIS) is currently considering the EU response to the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

A delegation of MEPs from the committee will visit two car manufacturers in the West Midlands in the UK on Wednesday.


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As part of the same inquiry, members from the internal market committee were also due to visit France, Germany and Luxembourg to visit testing facilities and meet with representatives from NGOs and national authorities. 

The EMIS delegation of MEPs from the UK, Italy, Poland and Slovakia is led by UK MEP Daniel Dalton and will visit Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin.

Speaking ahead of the visit, Dalton said, "We want to hear from West Midlands manufacturers as we seek to restore confidence in the industry that was clearly rocked by VW scandal."

Dalton, an ECR group member, is Parliament's rapporteur on the file. He will have to negotiate with representatives of the EU's national governments, and come to a compromise on the legal text, which was drafted and proposed by the European Commission in January.

While rules on car safety and environmental standards are agreed at an EU level, implementation of car certification, called type approval, is done at national level.

The Volkswagen scandal was revealed following a study by the International Council on Clean Transportation into differences between emissions from diesel vehicles in the US and Europe. 

Last September, Volkswagen admitted to fitting cheat devices to more than 11 million vehicles. These were designed to deceive US authorities on the levels of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emitted by a popular range of its diesel engines. 

The firm agreed to recall affected vehicles and remove the cheat devices.

Former European environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, recently attacked VW for its "irresponsibility" over the scandal.

The committee of inquiry last month heard the testimonies of both Potočnik and Antonio Tajani, the former European industry and entrepreneurship Commissioner.

This took place against the backdrop of a leak that exposed deep tensions between the two officials in the period preceding the cheating revelations.  

 

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