* Governments, EU did not do enough to uncover cheating
* Wanted to protect car industry after 2008 crisis
* Report calls for establishment of EU agency
By Julia Fioretti and Waverly Colville
BRUSSELS, Feb 28 European governments delayed
stricter car engine emissions tests by six years and did not do
enough to uncover cheating by car manufacturers, a European
Parliament report into the dieselgate scandal said on Tuesday.
The investigation into Volkswagen's emissions
test cheating also blamed the European Commission for failing to
scrutinise governments' legal obligation to enforce a ban on
so-called defeat devices, which can scale back car exhaust
pollution under certain driving conditions.
"We now have a crystal-clear understanding of the failures
in the oversight of the car industry that made dieselgate
possible: the fraud could have been prevented," said Gerben-Jan
Gerbrandy, a Dutch lawmaker who helped draft the report.
It called for a drastic strengthening of market surveillance
to break the cosy relationship between regulators who test
emissions and car manufacturers, including new EU-level tests
that could lead to fines.
Lawmakers said delays to the introduction of more realistic
emissions tests came about due to politicians caving in to
lobbying from the car industry and seeking to avoid burdening
manufacturers after the 2008 financial crisis.
The non-binding report named France, Hungary, Italy,
Slovakia, Spain and Romania as the main culprits blocking the
adoption of more realistic emissions testing on roads, leading
to a six-year delay.
VW admitted in September 2015 to using defeat devices to
confound nitrogen oxide (NOx) tests in the United States,
prompting several European governments to launch their own
They revealed that actual NOx emissions by cars on the road
were as much as 15 times above regulatory limits and the use of
defeat devices was widespread.
More than 70,000 Europeans die prematurely each year from
high levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution in cities, according
to the European Environment Agency.
In a bid to prevent a repeat of the VW scandal, the European
Commission has proposed an overhaul of rules on how vehicles are
licenced and tested throughout the bloc. A draft bill which
would bolster EU oversight won the backing of the European
Parliament's internal market committee this month.
But it still faces a tough battle to be approved by member
states. EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska has accused
governments of obstructing the bloc's efforts to rein in what it
sees as wayward behaviour by the car industry.
Julia Poliscanova at campaign group Transport and
Environment said the report had rightly pointed the finger at
"At the heart of the dieselgate scandal in Europe lies a
testing system that is shrouded in secrecy and cronyism," she
(Editing by David Clarke)