BRUSSELS Dec 19 Several EU countries, including
Italy, France and Spain, have delayed the adoption of stricter
car emissions' tests, despite evidence that this has allowed
pollution to go above legal limits, a draft report by European
Parliament said on Monday.
The draft report, seen by Reuters, blamed the delays on the
EU executive's desire to protect Europe's powerful car industry
following the 2008 financial crisis. The draft contains the
conclusions of the parliament's investigation into the
Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal.
"In 2012, there were already clear signs that something was
wrong with the emissions of diesel cars," Dutch Liberal
politician Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy said in a statement on the draft
"Dieselgate would not have happened if our national
governments and the European Commission had acted in line with
their legal and administrative responsibilities," Gerbrandy said
in the statement. He said the parliament's investigations showed
that unnecessary delays in decision-making, negligence and
maladministration contributed to making it possible.
The draft report, which will face amendments before going to
a vote in the European Parliament early next year, recommends a
shake up of the European Commission to create a single
Commissioner in charge of policies to address air quality and
also to address the sources of pollutant emissions.
The Commission will meet with representatives of the bloc's
28 nations on Tuesday to vote on strengthening new on-road
emissions tests that will supplement laboratory tests using
dynamometers, whose flaws were laid bare by the dieselgate
The new measures would extend testing from next September to
ultrafine and health-harming particles emitted from the new
generation of gasoline direct inject engines (GDI), but
carmakers are calling for the measures to be delayed until 2019.
"Regulatory uncertainty simply leaves too little time for
manufacturers to make the necessary changes to the design of
vehicles, engines, exhaust systems and assembly lines," Erik
Jonnaert, the head of European Automobile Manufacturers'
Association (ACEA) said in a statement ahead of the vote.
The green group Transport & Environment says cheap
technology already exists to scale back pollution from GDI
engines, which emit as much as 10 times more particles blamed
for early deaths than previous generation engines.
A year after VW admitted to cheating in the United States,
EU sources say France and Germany, EU nations with big car
industries, are expected to back the Commission's proposal for
stronger rules by next year.
But it remains unclear whether Italy, Spain and a number of
states in eastern Europe will do so.
"The vote is very much on a knife edge," said Greg Archer,
clean vehicles manager of sustainable transport at T&E.
(Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Philip Blenkinsop
and Jane Merriman)