EU reaches agreement on car-testing reforms

Provisional agreement has been reached in Brussels on reforms of rules around type-approval for new cars, which it is claimed will “modernise” control tests on car emissions data.

The deal, reached between the EU’s Council Presidency and the European Parliament yesterday (7 December) will ‘help to restore credibility to the car sector’, a senior EU politician has claimed.

car manufacture air quality

The new rules could toughen the rules around testing new vehicles for approval

Current EU vehicle type approval rules require member states to check that a car model meets all EU standards before it can be sold on the single market, and must have effective and dissuasive penalties systems in place to deter car manufacturers from breaking the law.

Under the new rules which will be voted on by MEPs before they can be passed into EU law, member states will have to carry out checks on vehicles circulating on their roads at the rate of at least one for every 40,000 newly-registered vehicles. Around 20% of tests will be on emissions.

The European Commission will also be empowered to conduct audits on each national type approval authority every five years to ensure that they are upholding the appropriate standards. The Council has also claimed that the new rules will toughen the requirements around the quality of testing for a car to be placed on the market.

Kadri Simson, President of the Council and Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure of Estonia, said: “This new framework will help restore the credibility of the car sector. It will set up a transparent system with proper supervision, improve coordination at different levels and harmonise the application of EU rules.

“I would like to thank previous Council presidencies, as well as the Parliament and Commission for their efforts and hope the member states can endorse what I think is a balanced deal which delivers the necessary reforms.”

Commenting on the proposals, Jyrki Katainen, the European Commission’s Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “With tighter rules which are policed more strictly, the car industry has the chance to regain consumers’ trust. Just a few weeks after the Commission’s clean mobility proposals, today’s agreement marks yet another milestone in the EU’s wider efforts to reinforce our car industry’s global leadership in clean and safe vehicles.”

ACEA

The agreement has been welcomed by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), which represents the continents motor manufacturers.

ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert, said: “ACEA has always supported the core objectives of strengthening market surveillance and improving the current system, as well as further harmonising it.

“The agreement reached yesterday seems to strike a balance between the aim to make the whole type approval system more robust and efficient, and the need to avoid excessive administrative burden for car manufacturers.”

Poland

Also in Europe this week, the European Commission has issued a warning to Poland to transpose EU rules on the reference methods, data validation and location of sampling points for the assessment of ambient air quality.

Member States were required to transpose these rules by 31 December 2016, but Poland has thus far failed to do so. This weeek the Commission has sent a ‘reasoned opinion’ and given the Polish authorities two months to reply. In the absence of a satisfactory response, the Commission may refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU.