Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Diesel 2019

(Gab Pili, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


Member states and carmakers must be held accountable and coordinate on urgent action needed to tackle the car emissions scandal, said MEPs on Thursday.

Emergency measures should be taken by member states to recall or withdraw the large number of highly polluting cars from the market. They should also coordinate with manufacturers to proceed with mandatory hardware retrofits to cut nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions and clean up the existing fleet, MEPs said, on Thursday, in a resolution adopted with 301 votes to 181 and 42 abstentions. Parliament fears that the legacy of highly polluting diesel vehicles remains largely unsolved, and will continue to deteriorate air quality for many years to come if no effective coordinated action is taken.

Commission and member states criticised

They note that, while the Commission launched infringement procedures against several member states more than two years ago for their failure to impose sanctions (in the case of the Volkswagen group) and set up penalty systems to deter car manufacturers from violating car emission legislation, it has not pushed beyond the stage of seeking further information. Procedures are still ongoing against Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom.

Some member states appear not to be cooperating seriously with the Commission in this regard, MEPs add, and call on them to provide all information required so the Commission can deliver its report addressing the recommendations of the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurement in the Automotive Sector (EMIS).

They condemn the “obstructive behaviour” from the European Commission that has slowed down the inquiry process, and its refusal to grant public access to positions of member states in technical meetings constituted maladministration, according to the European Ombudsman.

MEPs note that in the United States, Dieselgate victims have received between USD 5 000 and USD 10 000 in compensation payments, while European consumers are still waiting for proper compensation.

Background

According to the information transmitted to the Commission by member states, campaigns in in the EU concern only a limited number of cars from the following brands: Volkswagen, Renault, Daimler, Opel and Suzuki. However, several NGOs and media have reported that models from several other brands have shown suspicious emissions behaviour or exceeded the pollution limits outlined in EU law

Some member states, namely Bulgaria, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia and Sweden, have still not sent any information to the Commission on their recall programmes.

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