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Parliament decides: MEPs back emissions loophole despite VW scandal

February 4, 2016 - EU Institutions

The European Parliament has accepted a compromise deal aiming to reduce harmful car emissions and toughen the testing procedure for new vehicles. However, it has failed to close a loophole that allows diesel engines to spew out twice the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx). Under the new rules, car makers will be allowed to overshoot NOx emissions by twice the EU’s limit of 80 mg per km between 2019 and 2021, and by 50% more thereafter.

In October, the Commission proposed the new limits in a package of measures aimed at cleaning up the European car industry, whose reputation has been severely tarnished following revelations that Volkswagen serially cheated on emissions tests.  The Parliament’s ENVI Committee rejected the new rules, saying they were too lax, and in January MEPs debated whether to veto the Commission proposal.

However, on 3rd February 2016, MEPs rejected that veto by 323 votes to 317, allowing the Commission to push ahead with its plans – despite the Parliament’s JURI Committee deeming the new exceptions unlawful.

Doru Frantescu, policy director at Votewatch Europe, provides a detailed analysis of the vote while Ellie Mears fills us in on the background.  


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