EP demands answers on Volkswagen scandal

Strasbourg, Oct 7 (IANS) Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have asked the European Commission (EC) to shed light on the Volkswagen (VW) scandal.

A long and heated debate on Tuesday in plenary session centred on the question of whether the EC was aware of the practices of the German automaker, Xinhua reported.

While Volkswagen (VW), which is accused by American authorities of rigging the engine software in 11 million vehicles to allow them to pass stringent emissions tests, remains in turmoil, industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska was called on to clarify whether emission test manipulation also took place in Europe.

Many MEPs said the ongoing scandal endangers the credibility of the whole car sector, and called on the EC to speed up the introduction of real drive emissions testing.

Bienkowska tried, without great success, to reassure MEPs from across the political spectrum.

“The Commission should recognise, just as the German government did, that the emissions tests were not effective,” said Green MEP German Rebecca Harms.

Voices were raised during the debate calling for the Commission to declare “whether or not, it was aware of cheating” and “why, despite several reports on anti-pollution tests, the EC had not commissioned its own survey”.

“The VW scandal coming to light reveals how the system is obsolete. Will the Commission finally consider the creation of an independent supervisory agency in this regard,” Christine Revault Allonnes-Bonnefoy, rapporteur of the EP’s Transport Committee said.

The EC, she said, considered it “premature” to impose immediate control measures in Europe and says it has no power of sanction, relying instead on individual EU member states to take action.

Now known as “Diesel Gate”, the affair has highlighted the limitations of pollution control testing by European car manufacturers and has taken on a political dimension across the EU.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected in Strasbourg on Wednesday, some MEPs used the affair as an excuse to slam Germany for what they saw as its “preaching” to everyone else.

EP political groups will prepare a resolution to be voted during the October 26-29 plenary session in Strasbourg.

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