By on December 8, 2016

porsche 550 rear emblem

European Union officials are threatening to sue four countries, including Germany and Britain, for permitting Volkswagen AG to sell vehicles that were designed to cheat on emissions tests. The union has faced growing criticism for taking a more laissez-faire approach to handling the issue while the United States forced the company to settle $15 billion in legal claims.

Meanwhile, German regulators are looking into whether Porsche intentionally manipulated fuel economy data on its vehicles — creating a potential subplot in Volkswagen’s never-ending emissions-cheating scandal.

Europe may have weaker emission benchmarks than the United States, but the rules forbidding carmakers from installing software intended to deceive regulators and falsify results are similar. However, there is no Environmental Protection Agency equivalent in the E.U. and, therefore, no one to police those regulations. Instead, the issue is entirely left up to the individual countries.

The New York Times reports that the European Commission has managed to band together to accuse four countries of failing to effectively punish Volkswagen Group for installing software that mislead testers and allowed the vehicles to produce unacceptable levels of pollution under practical use. “Abiding by the law is first and foremost the duty of car manufacturers, Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European commissioner for industry, said “But national authorities across the E.U. must ensure that car manufacturers actually comply with the law.”

The Commission has given the four countries — Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, and Spain — two months in which to respond. With automakers seeking out countries with less stringent quality control for union-wide certification, the Commission has faced growing complaints to fix a broken system and exercise its power.

When the European Commission previously asked countries how they enforce emissions rules, 11 of the 28, including Britain, France and Poland, didn’t even bother to reply.

“After months of delays, and years of deception of consumers, this action is overdue,” Bas Eickhout, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement also proves that the commission does indeed have the ability to take action against member states, something they have repeatedly denied in the past.”

Meanwhile, Germany’s Transport Ministry and Federal Motor Transport Authority are investigating whether Porsche knowingly installed the defeat devices that allowed its cars to sense when they were being tested for fuel economy and greenhouse emissions. German magazine WirtschaftsWoche reports that an unidentified people close to Porsche tipped off the Transportation Ministry to the alleged cheating.

A Porsche spokesman has stated that the company’s cars complied with the fuel consumption and emissions laws in place at the time of the vehicles’ registration.

The report specifies that the investigation focuses primarily on the same so-called “wheel identifier” German authorities began looking into last month with Audi. The equipped cars can detect whether they’re on a test bed due to the lack of steering input during operation.

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11 Comments on “EU Threatenes to Sue Countries That Went Easy on VW; Porsche Hit with Fuel Economy Probe...”

  • avatar

    So the EU threatens to sue these countries. Then what? Do you think a country like Germany (or Britain, which has already declared intent to exit the EU) will even respond?

  • avatar

    As national sovereignty is trampled again by unelected bureaucrats, Brexit is only the beginning.

  • avatar

    “When the European Commission previously asked countries how they enforce emissions rules, 11 of the 28, including Britain, France and Poland, didn’t even bother to reply.”

    Lol. Welcome to League of Nations status.

  • avatar

    Yes, let’s let an unelected bureaucracy have power over how a democratic government decides to enforce laws within their borders.

    The Euroskpetics really are “crazy conspiracy theorists” for being afraid that EU membership means an eventual loss of sovereignty.

  • avatar

    The implosion of the EU continues…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    It’s hard to imagine a more vivid demonstration of the problems with the EU concept than this. There is this sort of supra government which pipes up from time to time and threatens a vital national interest of Germany.

    But that part doesn’t register in Brussels. In a way, this is analogous to how the GM bankruptcy was handled. On one hand, GM could have bankrupt like any other company — and we’d find out whether, in 2008 DIP financing of the magnitude requires was available, or else the company would be liquidated. On the other hand, a political decision was made to perform some “rough justice” triage in an effort to save some jobs, some suppliers’ jobs and some suppliers themselves along with partially saving some creditors. I’m not saying who was right; there are decent arguments for both sides.

    By contrast, this bunch in Brussels can see no further than some egregious violations of pollution regulations and “we’ll teach them a lesson even if it kills them.” Meanwhile, in Germany, there is the matter of jobs . . .

    It’s beginning to look like the EU is stuck somewhere between being a federation of subservient states (like the U.S.) and bye-bye any national sovereignty and what it used to be — a common customs union of fully sovereign states.

    To use an un-PC simile: it’s like being half-pregnant. Just can’t be done.

  • avatar

    EU bureaucrats must be deaf. Brexit wasn’t a rationally considered decision that the United Kingdom’s interests were better served outside the EU than inside it. Brexit was an angry demand to, “Get out of my face!”

    The EU is failing for several reasons. Chickenshit regulations by the EU bureaucracy are annoying rather than harmful. Finance and security are vitally important. A common currency means that economically prudent member countries must bail out spendthrifts. Free travel through the EU means that, if Greece doesn’t secure its borders, France and Germany get overrun with illegal immigrants.

  • avatar

    Last I looked, there still remains a few percent of the total sum consumers pay for cars, that does not go directly into the pockets of lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians and banksters. Meaning, there is still room for more “activism!” After all, there is a world (of the above) that needs saving (from having to do something productive in exchange for their millions) and all.

  • avatar

    VW claims the defeat device didn’t break European law.

    If that’s accurate (and the denial puts the onus on the EU to prove it did break the law), going after the individual countries and their slack emissions testing is really the only option left for the EU – probably with the end goal that the individual states pass some level of financial hardship on to VW.

    That said, punishing the individual member states for this type of transgression makes zero sense remembering that, as noted, VW claim not to have done anything wrong.

  • avatar

    The tale grows ever more ridiculous.

    The ONLY entities that should receive damages from VW are owners of the vehicles.

    This is just another example of another governmental organization that sees the possibility of free money.

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