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Adoption of Dieselgate report to help reclaim emissions regulation from car industry

Corporate Europe Observatory welcomed the European Parliament‘s adoption of the inquiry report on the ‘Dieselgate‘ scandal this morning as a first step towards curbing the excessive influence of the car industry over EU emission regulations.

The report by the European Parliament‘s Committee on Emissions Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS) calls for more transparency in the decision making process for EU car emission regulation and criticises the failure of both the European Commission and member state governments to properly enforce existing rules. It also highlights the harmful effect of car manufacturers‘ capture of the regulatory process, which has caused long delays in the introduction of improved emission testing methods.

Corporate Europe Observatory‘s campaigner Fabian Hübner said:

“The car industry should never have had such a big leverage over emissions regulation. It‘s a scandal for how long it has been the puppet master of Commission and member states. The EU Parliament‘s report will help to reclaim EU emissions regulation from the car industry.

“Curbing excessive industry influence at all levels of the policy-making process is the only way we’ll see car industry regulation made in the public interest. So it is important that Commissioner Bienkowska has acknowledged her institution’s past mistakes and promised to follow up on possible maladministration.

“To prevent future scandals in spite of unapologetic car manufacturers and slacking member states, the Commission must follow the Parliament’s recommendations to increase transparency, curb corporate influencing and keep industry on a very short leash.”

Notes to editors:

  • Within the coming 18 months, the European Commission will have to submit a first comprehensive report on the action it has taken in response to the conclusions and recommendations of the European Parliament’s ‘Dieselgate’ inquiry committee.

  • Aside from redressing corporate capture, the report also recommends ways to increase the transparency throughout the rule-making process for emission regulation. Suggested provisions include the mandatory publication of participant lists and meeting minutes of relevant expert groups and comitology bodies.

  • The failure of national regulators to sufficiently enforce EU emission rules led the Parliament’s inquiry committee to call for an EU-level vehicle surveillance agency – a demand that was supported by many environmental NGOs. The proposal was eventually rejected in today’s plenary vote due to a lack of support from the conservative EPP and other right-wing groups.

  • After the revelation of Volkswagen’s cheating in emissions tests kickstarted the ‘Dieselgate’scandal in September 2015, official investigations have also recently been launched against Daimler, Audi, Fiat-Chrysler and Renault.

  • Corporate Europe’s in-depth analysis of the ‘Dieselgate' scandal is available in our latest report, 'Driving Into Disaster'.

  • When the report was finalised in the Parliament’s inquiry committee in March, committee members failed to adopt several additions that could have further strengthened the report’s impact. These included an amendment (10) seeking to reduce undue industry influencing through a formalisation of Commission officials’ meetings with lobbyists and a mandatory lobby register.

Contact:

Theresa Crysmann, theresa@corporateeurope.org, 0032 289 309 3001

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