Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, europarlementariër D66
Dieselgate report co-rapporteur Gerbrandy: Dieselgate scandal could and should have been prevented
Today, Member of the European Parliament and co-rapporteur for the Dieselgate Inquiry Committee (ALDE), launched the draft of the Dieselgate inquiry report, together with co-rapporteur Jens Gieseke (EPP).
Commenting on the draft report, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy said:
"Dieselgate would not have happened if our national governments and the European Commission would have acted on their legal and administrative responsibilities. Our investigation points out that unnecessary delays in decision-making, negligence and maladministration have contributed to making this fraud possible.”
Maladministration by the European Commission
Car manufacturers could hide suspicious diesel emissions for years due to outdated emissons tests carried out in laboratories. The inquiry report states that the Commission's failure to steer towards a quicker decision-making on new road emissions testing methods constitutes maladministration. The report also points out that the Commission should have acted on information provided in 2012 by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) on possible illegal practices in diesel cars, and requests from inside and outside the Commission to follow up with national authorities on problems in the car fleet.
Gerbrandy: "Already in 2012 there were clear signs that there was something wrong with the emissions of diesel cars, but the Commission failed to undertake further investigations and legal steps. On the contrary, the Commission decided actively not to take action."
The rapporteurs recommend an internal Commission investigation on the developments in 2012. Former Commission officials stated in committee hearings that the JRC information was not moved up in the Commission's hierarchy.
The inquiry report recommends that in the future one Commissioner should be responsible for both air quality and car emissions. The responsibilities are currently divided between the Commissioner for Environment and the Commissioner for Industry and Internal Market. The report also recommends looking at potential fraud with other consumer products due to inadequate product testing.
Little has changed so far
The inquiry report concludes that Member States contravened their legal obligations to monitor the potential use of defeat devices, despite a clear ban on defeat devices included in EU law.
"Governments disregarded their legal duty to monitor and enforce the ban on defeat devices. There seems to be a blind trust in the good intentions of car manufacturers, especially when it has production plants in the country. But is even more disturbing that even after the Dieselgate scandal actually very little has changed."
"Some Member States still refuse to issue proper penalties against illegal actions. The recall actions for faulty cars are mostly on a voluntary basis. Some Member States refuse to disclose the full data of their national investigations on diesel emissions. But also Commissioner Bienkowska is only waking up slowly. It took more than six months to start infringement procedures against the countries that deliberately violated European law. Motorists and citizens living in polluted cities deserve much stronger and forthcoming actions to protect their consumer rights and health."
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