Brussels, 02/03/2016. The European Parliament’s car-pollution inquiry committee (better known as Dieselgate), set up to investigate last year’s scandal on particulate pollution from cars, has just met for the first time.
The committee is set to deliberate for 12 months. Its brief is to investigate the regulatory breakdown in the EU on emissions testing for cars, and also the EU’s failure to ensure pollutant limits (which have driven generations of technological advancement in vehicle engines) were implemented.
Earlier there were fears that committee membership (45 members) had been stuffed with representatives who are over-sympathetic to the automotive sector, which has one of the most powerful lobbies in Brussels. While this potential dilution of the committee’s effectiveness remains a concern, the European Greens at least have managed to take a number of key posts. Karima Delli (FR) will be a committee vice-chair, Bas Eickhout (NL) will coordinate the group’s work and Greens/EFA co-president Rebecca Harms (DE) will also sit on the committee.
Commenting at the outset of the meeting, Bas Eickhout said, “We are happy that Parliament’s Dieselgate inquiry is finally up and running after a couple of months of internal wrangling. This inquiry is an important step in ensuring the implications of the car-pollution scandal are properly dealt with at EU level. It must focus on the roles played by responsible national authorities and the EU Commission in allowing this regulatory breakdown to occur.”
Apart from dealing with the scandal of the ‘defeat devices’, the inquiry has to assess evidence that the European Commission failed to act on indications that car manufacturers were avoiding their responsibility to comply with EU pollution regulations. Also that the Commission sat on its hands in the face of mounting evidence that many vehicles on the market exceed EU pollution norms.
The Greens believe that the list of interviewees should include current EU industry commissioner Bienkowska and former commissioners Tajani and Verheugen, as well as former Volkswagen chairman Winterkorn and representatives from EU national governments and type-approval authorities.
More information on the committee and the work of the inquiry at: www.diesel-gate.info (Greens)