Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment, but no surprise, at the latest leak in the series of events which led to the “dieselgate” emissions scandal, which revealed the use of defeat devices to cheat on binding limits when tested.
As the scandal unfolded, EU regulators stuck to a frustratingly weak response to the challenges of measuring emissions under real driving conditions, allowing for margins of up to more than twice the legal limits.
The leaks revealed in the press today indicate that Commission officials were meeting automobile industry representatives, informally, at the weekend, and passing on internal information on the Commission’s approach and positions, which strengthened the auto lobby’s powerful hand with Member State governments.
Speaking from Brussels in reaction to the leaks, today, Ms. Childers, a Member of Parliament’s Environment and Public Health Committee, said:
“This is very disheartening news indeed, but not very much surprising. Car manufacturers seem to have a throttlehold over all key decision-makers and regulators in Brussels and the national capitals.
“Even the Irish government, with no auto industry to blackmail it over employment and export figures, meekly kowtowed to Germany last autumn to allow for emissions margins in driving tests that make a mockery of the laws passed in Parliament together with the Council of Ministers years ago.
“Little wonder, then, that the emissions testing measures ended with loopholes and margins you can drive a diesel-guzzler through, and which the right-wing in Parliament failed to challenge just last month.
“This shows the inadequacy of the Juncker Commission’s progress on lobby transparency, and how urgent it is for the veil to be lifted on all Commission officials’ meetings with lobbyists.
“The outrageous level of insider information being exchanged here would lead to jail sentences in other lines of business.
“This is tantamount to regulatory capture, and Parliament’s committee of enquiry into the Dieselgate scandal must shed further light on this disgraceful affair.
“Lives and livelihoods are lost prematurely every year across Europe, at an enormous human and financial cost in death and illness, all from levels of air pollution that we can seriously mitigate, once we’re not blinded by the auto industry’s sheen.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: Further information on the leak’s contents and context can be found on the website of the Brussels-based corporate lobby watchdog, CEO, through the link below: