27 January 2016

European Commission tightens rules for safer and cleaner cars


The European Commission has tabled legislative proposals to ensure car manufacturers comply strictly with all EU safety, environmental and production requirements.

The Commission is proposing a major overhaul of the so-called EU type approval framework. Under current rules, national authorities are solely responsible for certifying that a vehicle meets all requirements to be placed on the market and for policing manufacturers' compliance with EU law. Today's proposals will make vehicle testing more independent and increase surveillance of cars already in circulation. Greater European oversight will strengthen the system as a whole.

The Commission was already reviewing the EU type approval framework for motor vehicles prior to the Volkswagen revelations. It has since concluded on the need for more far-reaching reform to prevent cases of non-compliance from happening again. Today's proposal for a Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles complements efforts to introduce more robust emissions testing (Real Driving Emissions testing).

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "In a Single Market where goods circulate freely, everyone must play by the rules. The Volkswagen revelations have highlighted that the system which allows cars to be placed on the market needs further improvement. To regain customers' trust in this important industry, we need to tighten the rules but also ensure they are effectively observed. It is essential to restore a level playing field and fair competition in the market."

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: "The Single Market requires rigorous enforcement across sectors, including the car industry. With our proposals today we will raise the quality and independence of vehicle testing and improve the oversight of cars already in circulation. This complements our efforts to introduce the most robust emissions testing procedures in the world, which we will keep refining and reviewing to ensure the strictest emissions limits are really met."

The current type approval system is based on mutual trust: once a car is certified in one Member State, it can circulate freely throughout the EU. While the EU sets the legal framework, national authorities are fully responsible for checking car manufacturers' compliance. The draft Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles maintains the principle of mutual recognition, which is at the core of the EU Single Market, but seeks to correct the flaws in the system.

Next steps

The draft Regulation will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council for adoption. Once adopted, it will be directly applicable. It will repeal and replace Directive 2007/46/EC (the ‘Framework Directive’).

For more information: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-167_en.htm