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EU clamps down on carmakers after VW scandal

The European Commission has proposed new laws aimed at ensuring carmakers are in stricter compliance with EU safety and environmental regulations. The measures would implement greater European oversight.

A statement from the European Commission on Wednesday accompanied Tweets unveiling a new proposal that would apply stricter compliance regulations on car manufacturers, aiming to make sure they meet EU safety, environmental, and production regulations.

The proposals come in the

aftermath of the Volkswagen emissions scandal

, which saw the German carmaker use trick software in some of its vehicles which could deliver lower-than-usual emissions output during a test situation.

"The Volkswagen revelations have highlighted that the system which allows cars to be placed on the market needs further improvement," said Jyrki Katainen, the Commission's competitiveness vice president. "To regain customers' trust in this important industry, we need to tighten the rules but also ensure they are effectively observed."

Under current European law, national authorities are the only ones responsible to certifying vehicle requirements and compliance with EU regulations. This means if a car is certified in one member state, it has effectively been certified for the entire EU. The new laws maintain this system but seek to fix its mistakes.

First, the proposals would seek to make testing and inspection of vehicles more independent and better regulated. Second, monitoring of vehicles that are already on the road would be beefed up and allow any member state to enforce the rules, even if a car was certified originally in another country.

Finally, the Commission's new laws would "have the power to suspend, restrict or withdraw the designation of technical services that are underperforming and too lax in applying the rules." Manufacturers will also need to provide access to a car's software protocols, which makes so-called "defeat devices," such as the ones used in the Volkswagen scandal, difficult to use.

The draft regulation now moves to the European Parliament and European Council. If it is adopted, it would become effective immediately.

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