Dear President, Honourable Members,
Let me first thank you for this opportunity to provide you with an update on the recent developments on the Emission scandal.
When Elżbieta met you last time on 4 April to discuss this case, she pledged on behalf of the Commission that we would fully follow-up on the EMIS committee's conclusions in the final report and its recommendation. The EP should have received a written response from us end of July.
Today, I can ensure you that our commitment remains strong and that the Commission is acting simultaneously on three fronts:
1) Better enforcement
2) Better market surveillance
3) And better rules for the future
First - Better enforcement:
Honourable Members, in April we informed you that the Commission is pursuing several infringement procedures against Member States.
These Member States had either omitted to lay down sanctions for breaches of the obligations on car manufacturers, or had not effectively applied such sanctions even after the manipulations were discovered.
Since then, a further infringement procedure was launched in May 2017 against Italy for failure to take action against Fiat for the use of prohibited defeat devices.
And let me be very clear: We are determined to pursue these infringement procedures so as to ensure proper enforcement of the current Type-approval legislation and to avoid that additional non-compliant cars enter the European market and would aggravate the existing air quality problem.
Second - Better market surveillance
In addition to these enforcement actions, the Commission also urges Member States to do their part and ensure compliance of the existing diesel fleet with the type-approval rules.
In this context, we are happy to see that after first round of national investigations into the emission scandal in 2016, a second round has been launched in early 2017. And there are some enforcement actions under way.
French authorities are investigating possible irregularities in diesel vehicles from Renault and PSA since January.
German authorities are following-up on irregularities in diesel vehicles produced by Daimler, Audi, and Porsche since June and more recently by Ford.
And also the Dutch authorities continue their investigations and notably brought two vehicle types from Jeep and Suzuki, respectively, to the attention of the public prosecutor.
As for the vehicles of the Volkswagen (VW) group that were at the origin of the emission scandal and as such were already identified as non-compliant with the current emission rules, a recall campaign by the manufacturer is underway across the EU.
According to the information available to the Commission, at the end of July 2017, more than half of the 8.4 Million vehicles of the VW group affected across the EU have already been recalled.
Together with the Member States, the Commission will continue to monitor the repair of the remaining vehicles of the VW group so that all affected vehicles will eventually be brought to conformity by autumn 2017.
In this context, we welcome the decision of four Member States - Austria, Germany, Finland and Portugal who made their recall campaigns mandatory.
On 17 July, Elzbieta sent a letter to all Ministers, urging them to follow the mandatory and voluntary measures already taken in Germany, France and the Netherlands.
So far 16 of the Member States replied. We will provide you with complete overview of MS positions once we will have a full picture.
However, concerns have been expressed by consumer associations and individual car owners about the full compliance of the remedial measures with the type-approval legislation and their impact on vehicles' durability and fuel consumption.
In this context, on 7 September 2017 the EU consumer authorities and together with the Commission urged Volkswagen to properly retrofit all affected cars and to inform the consumers in a fully transparent and detailed manner on what has been achieved and what remains to be done. I can assure you that we will continue to monitor VW's action plan on the affected vehicles.
The Commission also welcomes the initiative of Germany and Austria who organised National "Diesel summits" on 2 August and 22 August respectively. It is a step forward and others should follow.
But we have to keep in mind that the measures proposed by the industry have to lead to an effective reduction of emissions on the road and not only in the laboratory.
That is the only way to avoid so-called Diesel bans that are being discussed in some Member States as a reaction to the scandal.
Third - Better rules
Let me start by reminding you that as from 1 September 2017 improved testing procedures – both in laboratory conditions (WTLP) and in real driving conditions (RDE) – have become mandatory for all new vehicle types.
We also work to increase the transparency and control of emissions from vehicles by allowing independent parties to test in-use vehicles. This will come with the new Real driving emission Regulation foreseen for spring next year.
As foreseen by law, we pursue the work to review and possibly to bring down the conformity factors used to "translate" the measurements on the road to those in the lab.
We expect to be able to lower them already with the upcoming the new Real Driving Emission (RDE) Regulation.
Last but not least, we welcome the start of the first trilogue on the revised Type Approval Framework, which took place on 6 September.
We salute the co-legislators' ambition to finalise this revision by the end of the year.
The new framework will reinforce the independence of testing, which will remain a national responsibility, but at the same time reinforce its European oversight
I hope that we can work together and use the political momentum to establish a strong set of rules and control mechanisms and in order to regain the consumers' confidence and improving the quality of the air they breathe.
Finally – Long term vision
Despite current turbulences, our ambition remains the same. That Europe continues to be a leader in clean, competitive and connected mobility.
To put it simply – we want to make sure that it is Europe that produces best low-emission, connected and automated mobility solutions, equipment and vehicles.
To this end the Commission has already presented the first part of the mobility package. The second part will be delivered still this year. With this package we will present an integrated and future-oriented approach to mobility.
This will be our guide how to face disruptive developments which are ahead of transport sector. How to modernise it. How to exploit its potential to modernise the entire EU economy.
I trust we have shared responsibility to make this agenda for a socially fair transition towards clean, competitive and connected mobility – a reality.