VW scandal: European Parliament selects investigation committee

Strasbourg, Jan 22 (IANS) The European Parliament voted during its plenary session here to name members of the committee charged with the investigation of suspected violations of EU automobile emissions regulations following the Volkswagen scandal.

The explosive central question which must be answered by the 45 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) of all political varieties who have been chosen to sit on the investigative committee was: Was the European Commission aware of fraudulent practices being used by the German automaker that is accused by the US of having rigged motors in 11 million vehicles so as to pass anti-pollutant checks with the help of a piece of software?, according to Xinhua.

Other questions posed by the highest bodies of the EU include: Did the member states of the EU as well do what was necessary to enforce EU norms? Did they take appropriate and efficient measures to supervise and enforce the explicit prohibition of “invalidation devices”? Were tests representative of real driving conditions put into place? Were effective, proportional, and dissuasive sanctions, applicable to automakers in cases of violation, established?

In October, the European Parliament strongly requested explanations from EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, then voted on a resolution demanding a deeper investigation on the role and responsibility of the European Commission and EU member states in the scandal.

Several MEPs railed against the “going off the rails of the Volkswagen lobbies”, going as far as accusing the German government of being complicit.

In the political storm raised by what has been referred to as “Diesel Gate”, not only has the jewel of German industry been threatened, but also the health and credibility of the European auto sector in general.

French automaker Renault confirmed on Tuesday that it would recall nearly 16,000 vehicles equipped with diesel motors because of “an error detected and corrected” in the summer of 2015, while affirming that these models respected norms currently in force.

The investigative committee of the European Parliament will present a preliminary report within six months and a final report within twelve months from the beginning of its work. It will hold its first meeting in February in order to name its president and vice presidents.

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