The European Union will take action against seven nations including Germany and Britain for failing to police car emissions rules, EU sources have said.
It comes after the Volkswagen cheating scandal highlighted suspicious behaviour in the industry.
Amid frustration in Brussels over nations’ responses to diesel vehicles flouting pollution limits, the European Commission is resorting to the strongest legal action it can take against members of the 28-nation bloc – potentially ending in court.
Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollution from diesel engines, which power half of all cars in Europe, lead to respiratory illness and the premature death of 72,000 people per year, said the European Environmental Agency.
A year after US authorities caught VW using software to cheat emissions test, EU officials say many nations wooed by the industry’s importance – it employs 12 million people in the bloc – have shielded carmakers from the kind of sanctions some face in the United States.
According to EU sources familiar with the matter, the EU executive has found fault with countries for failing to set fines to deter sharp practice on emissions, penalise carmakers for breaching the law or cooperate with its demands for information.
Germany and Britain face cases linked to their testing and approval of new VW models, sources said.
“This is not the end; just the first wave of action,” one EU source said.
A Commission spokeswoman declined to confirm the reports.
Thursday’s notice is the first step in what is known as infringement procedures, allowing the EU to take action against member states for failing to apply EU law. (Reuters)
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