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VW dodges accountability in parliamentary inquiry over emissions scandal

GUE/NGL MEP Kateřina Konečná slammed German car manufacturer Volkswagen for imposing conditions on MEPs ahead of its testimony this morning to the Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector (EMIS):

“I am astonished that moments before the hearing Volkswagen demanded limitations on what the inquiry committee was allowed to address. How can we do a proper investigation when the Commission, member states and car companies are not willing to cooperate?” asked the Czech MEP.

“Volkswagen wants to avoid tough questions and dodge responsibilities. The company is paying for their mistakes in the US but there hasn’t been enough accountability in Europe,” Konečná affirmed.

Volkswagen indicated that they won’t answer questions relating to ongoing court cases and questions “outside the mandate” of the committee of inquiry, as interpreted by the company, leaving MEPs wondering what was left for them to cover.

This is the first time the company at the centre of the scandal on emissions cheating appears in front of the inquiry committee that was established in December last year. Volkswagen was represented by Dr Ulrich Eichhorn, Chief Technology Officer and two of their engineers.

The company argued that European legislation did not contain an obligation to disclose the use of “Auxiliary Emission Control Devices” (AECD) unlike demands in US legislation.

GUE/NGL MEP Cornelia Ernst accused the manufacturer of dodging its responsibilities:

“I am disappointed that Volkswagen nominated a former lobbyist who is working for the company for just three months to lead their delegation; this shows a lack of interest in the investigation and a low level of transparency.”

The German MEP criticised the attitude of the company throughout the hearing as unrepentant: 

“The whole scandal is nothing less than overt cheating of the public and the role Volkswagen played today in the inquiry is quite simply unreliable. They don't seem determined to solve anything, they do not seem to regret their fraud and nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions, we cannot let them get away with this!”