European Parliament set to hold inquiry into VW emissions scandal

Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:40pm EST
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By Alissa de Carbonnel and Barbara Lewis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament plans to set up a committee to investigate Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) emissions scandal and whether regulatory oversight of the car industry was too lax.

Members of the European Parliament will vote on the issue around midday on Thursday, but lawmakers said that was a formality after leaders of the various political groups decided on Wednesday to establish the committee.

The inquiry could last for up to a year and will investigate alleged contraventions of European Union law and alleged "maladministration" in the application of the law, according to the proposal approved by the group leaders.

Some 45 members of the European Parliament will sit on the committee.

"For me, the diesel issue mainly has two dimensions. Firstly, it's about private companies organizing the largest industrial fraud ever," Claude Turmes, Green Member of the European Parliament, said.

"And secondly, it's about public authorities in member states and on the EU level not intervening despite having relevant information."

EU regulation of the car industry has been under scrutiny since Volkswagen admitted in September it had rigged U.S. tests for nitrogen oxide emissions in diesel vehicles and that up to 11 million vehicles worldwide - most of them in Europe - were fitted with software capable of cheating tests.

Liberal politicians also strongly backed the inquiry.   Continued...

A VW sign is seen outside a Volkswagen dealership in London, Britain November 5, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett