As the European Parliament begins its inquiry today into the car emissions scandal, Greens/EFA MEP, Jordi Sebastià called for more transparency and for Europe to learn the lessons.
MEP Jordi Sebastià
Sebastià this week organised an exchange of views in the European Parliament with Vicente Franco.
Franco is a member of the research team of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) which produced the report that led the USA's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to discover that Volkswagen had installed software to manipulate emissions in some of their cars.
MEPs across political groups heard about the research that led the US government to uncover the scandal and criticism of the lack of transparency in the European Union and mismanagement in crises like these.
Jordi Sebastià MEP said:
"There are three elements to the VW scandal: the effect on public health and the environment, the cheated consumers and the question of fraud in respect of public finances.
"Volkswagen has benefitted from public funding to produce vehicles that were supposed to be clean. We now know differently and we must learn the lessons".
The Volkswagen scandal was revealed following a study by the ICCT to into differences between emissions from diesel vehicles in the US and Europe.
Vicente Franco said:
"There are significant differences between the interpretation made by American authorities and European authorities: Europeans show more tolerance and flexibility regarding a souped-up car.
"Formal complaints in Europe do not come from the authorities but from third parties such as ICCT, this can be interpreted as a lack of transparency.
"I don't want to be pessimistic about the future in Europe. There are currently some interesting initiatives such as the Commission proposal to reform the framework of emissions in Europe, which would include random testing, among other positive measures.
"We need caution, optimism but also surveillance by the scientific community and NGOs. We will continue to monitor very closely.”