In September 2015, it became clear that European consumers had been badly cheated. The so-called Dieselgate emissions scandal showed that there are loopholes in the legislation on the implementation of type approval rules for cars in the EU. To cut it short, certain car manufacturers had cheated on emission tests on their diesel cars, allowing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions to go well above the legal limits. This has serious consequences on health and the environment; reportedly, over 70,000 people die every year due to NOx poisoning.
Strengthened type-approval rules to entEr into force swiftly
To make sure this doesn't happen again, the European Commission came up with a plan to strengthen the type-approval system for motor vehicles. The aim is to make sure that the car emission scandal never happens again. Europe needs a more efficient system, a system that our citizens trust.
We, the EPP Group in the European Parliament, strongly supported this new system from the beginning. We also fought to make sure that the new system's entry-into-force would be smooth and fast. It meant we stood up to the Socialists and Green politicians who wanted to create yet another supervisory EU agency. That would have only caused more red tape and delayed the new system's entry-into-force.
However, there is no time to waste, our environment and people’s health is more important. One cannot ignore the fact that Europeans know what they want and they want to drive safe and clean cars.
Regular assessment of national type approval procedures
Therefore, the new system for type approval will allow the European Commission to act independently in the case of any wrongdoings. Currently, national authorities are responsible for assuring that a vehicle meets all the requirements before it enters the EU market as well as for checking the manufacturers' compliance with EU law.
After thorough negotiations, the Member States and the European Parliament reached agreement in December 2017 to introduce the necessary changes to the introduction of new vehicles on the market. The main points agreed on consist of the obligation for Member States and the Commission to perform market surveillance checks on cars and that the European Commission has to carry out an assessment every 5 years of the procedures put in place by the national type approval authorities.
The new rules also set the limit for validity. Once type-approved, the certificate is valid for 7 years concerning small vehicles and 10 years for trucks.
The new rules, which will make sure that the car you buy is safe and clean, will come into force two years from now, in September 2020.