VW scandal prompts EU to seek more powers over national car regulations image

The European Union made on Wednesday a legislative proposal to tighten rules over the approval of car models, to prevent a repeat of Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal.

The European Commission seeks through the new proposed rules to have more power over national car regulations, as this centralized plan of market overseeing is aimed to prevent a redo of Volkswagen emissions scandal. Under current rules, national authorities are solely responsible for certifying that a vehicle meets all requirements to be placed on the market and for policing manufacturers’ compliance with EU law. The Commission’s new rules would modify the remuneration system to avoid financial links between technical services and manufacturers, which could lead to conflicts of interest and compromise the independence of testing. It is also foreseen that Member States and the Commission will carry out spot-checks on vehicles already on the market. This will make it possible to detect non-compliance at an early stage, and ensure that immediate action is taken against cars that are found to be non-compliant or to present a serious safety risk or break the environmental laws. Moreover, the Commission will have the power to suspend, restrict or withdraw the designation of technical services that are underperforming and too lax in applying the rules.

The new plans would also authorize individual EU member states to recall cars in violation of regulations but approved by other members of the block, encouraging peer review of national authorities. “We have to make sure that it never happens again,” European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said. “This is about Europe’s competitiveness, about our consumers and about our environment.” So far, no EU national authority has imposed a penalty on Volkswagen, even though it has said that about 8.5 million of the 11 million vehicles fitted with banned software are in the region.