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EU warns of VW scandal fallout

2015-10-20 08:37

MORE TROUBLE:EU member states will urge Europe's pollution regulator to thoroughly assess the consequences of the VW emission scandal and how it impacts on the rest of the industry. Image: AP / Brennan Linsley

Brussels, Belgium - Several EU member states including major automaker France will urge Europe's pollution regulator to thoroughly assess the consequences of the Volkswagen emission scandal, according to a document seen by AFP Monday (Oct 19).

The letter said: "The environmental dimension needs to be clearly assessed and highlighted."

It was addressed to the EU's 28 environment ministers ahead of talks on October 26 in Luxembourg.

Domino effect

The letter said: "The case could have a direct bearing on the total emissions of a country, and might have an impact on efforts by all member states to fulfill their (emission) obligations ... and meet air quality standards in the EU."

The letter, dated Monday (October 19), was written by Austria and Denmark and officially backed by France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Luxembourg. It did not involve Germany, the home of auto giant Volkswagen that is under fire for massive cheating on emission tests.

Read: Spain want VW probed for fraud

The actual target of the letter is the European Commission, the EU's regulatory arm that sets emission rules across the 28-country block, but without any power of oversight, which remains with national authorities.

The Commission must "give a concise overview of the actions and measures being taken to clarify the magnitude of the manipulation of diesel cars," the letter said.

The seven countries also urged the swift introduction of real-driving tests that are widely known to stamp out the sophisticated cheating carried out by Volkswagen in laboratory tests.

At issue is the date when the real driving tests should be enforced and what delay should be allowed before emission limits are policed fully.

The letter said: The introduction of these tests "needs to be taken forward more quickly."

Officially, the real-life tests will begin in January, but only for reference.

Read: Lawsuits could force VW to buy back cheating diesels

The Commission proposal, which remains unofficial, allows car companies until 2019 to fully implement the new standard, a delay seen as unjustified by activists.

In its own letter to ministers, Belgium said full implementation should take place no later than 2017.

But the pressure on European governments to not overly upset the auto industry is huge, especially as the economic fallout of the VW scandal remains unknown.

According to industry data, the auto sector is responsible for about 12 million jobs across the EU, where economic growth remains sluggish and joblessness is still a concern.

Read more on:    volkswagen  |  germany  |  emissions scandal

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