The european Commission has opened the way Thursday to one of the first measures of sanctions against several member States for not having fulfilled their obligations in the face of the scandal of the engines fixing of Volkswagen.
The eu executive, which may not be directly to car manufacturers, has decided to put pressure on the national authorities.
More than a year has passed since the startling revelations in September 2015 on the existence of software installed on diesel engines of the Volkswagen group, which allowed to cheat during tests antipollutions
“It is the responsibility primarily to manufacturers of cars complying with the law. But the national authorities throughout the EU, must ensure that builders comply with the law,” explained in a press release the european commissioner for Industry, Elzbieta Bienkowska.
Interviewed in mid-September by the commission of inquiry of the european Parliament on the measures vehicle emissions of polluting gases, blamed for his inaction, the commissioner had promised that procedures would be initiated.
The Commission complains that Germany, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Spain, the four countries where the national authorities have granted certificates of registration to vehicles fraudsters of the Volkswagen group, not to have applied sanctions to the German manufacturer for having used the devices to be illegal.
In addition, Brussels is estimated that Germany and the United Kingdom – two countries where the automotive industry weighs heavily, “have violated the law in refusing to release, despite requests from the Commission, all technical information obtained within the framework of their national surveys about possible irregularities related to the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the vehicles of the Volkswagen group and other vehicle manufacturers on their territory”.
The Czech Republic, Lithuania and Greece are being challenged for not having introduced systems of penalties for this type of irregularities in their national laws.
First stage -
The letters of notice sent to the Member complained of is only a first step in the formal process of infringement. They have now two months to respond to the charges. If it is pushed up to its term, an infringement procedure may lead to financial sanctions.
The existence of software which allowed the diesel engines equipped with the Volkswagen group to distort the results of testing pollution control has been revealed in the United States. The German group further recognized that 11 million vehicles in the world, of which 8.5 million in Europe, were equipped with such a feature misleading.
But the EU penalty to impose sanctions, and especially compensation for its consumers, while in the United States German auto giant is already under the blow of a first-of-court settlement of nearly $ 15 billion to settle procedures in a civil action.
in Addition to Germany and the United Kingdom, national surveys on emissions of gas pollutants from diesel vehicles, which are proven to be up to 4 or 5 times higher on the road compared to the tests in laboratories, have been launched in France and Italy.
in France In particular, additional results were still expected for this month. After a first wave of control, competition authorities and the repression of fraud (DGCCRF) have forwarded to the courts, the findings of their investigation on the manufacturer Renault.
Helpless in the face of the scandal, the Commission proposed in January a major revision of the european legislation, in order to resume the hand on the procedure of homologation of vehicles and to provide supervisory powers and sanctions.
“in the Face of cynicism of the member States who put the interests of the industry before our health, the Commission tape finally fist on the table, we can rejoice in it,” responded the deputy european Green Karima Delli.
“Then that 30 million cars sales circulate on european roads, it is time that States take their responsibilities and take lessons from the Dieselgate”, she pleaded in a press release.