Germany rebuffs EU proposals for auto industry controls | News | DW | 25.04.2017
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Germany rebuffs EU proposals for auto industry controls

German media has reported that Berlin will reject an EU proposal calling for stricter controls over emissions tests. Environmental groups have accused Berlin of putting its commercial interests ahead of its citizens.

The German government on Tuesday appeared to reject an EU proposal calling for stronger controls on auto emissions, according to media reports.

According to Germany's "Süddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper, Berlin will reject plans laid out by the European Commission calling for stricter regulations over Europe's car industry.

Among the commission's proposals were stronger controls over industry regulatory bodies, such Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), as well as additional on-the-spot emissions tests carried out by Brussels itself.

The commission said its goal was for national agencies to no longer be able to protect national car manufacturers. A further proposal would also see consumer testing and review services financed through fees and the state, rather than from the car maker directly, as a means of avoiding any conflicts of interest.

However, Germany along with other European carmakers - Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic - looked ready to slam the brakes on such reforms.

Germany has already been accused of impeding an EU proposal that would allow Brussels to fine car makers 30,000 euros ($32,500) for each vehicle found cheating emissions tests and have it removed from the market. Berlin's tentativeness on the issue has only delayed the decision, according to Brussels insiders. A decision, initially expected to be made by the end of next month, it unlikely to come anytime soon.

German carmaker Volkswagen's manipulation of exhaust sensors for diesel cars had exposed the industry's failure to regulate itself, the European Federation for Transport and Environment, an umbrella for European environmental NGOs, is reported to have said. It warned that countries that rejected the EU's emissions controls were putting commercial interests ahead of its citizens.

Elsewhere, Germany also appeared ready to dismiss another EU specification for coal-fired power stations. EU states were expected to outline the best new technology available. However, Berlin believes that the specified nitric oxide reductions go too far and would require expensive retrofitting in all power stations.

Without German support, it remains unclear if the draft bill can gain the necessary majority.

dm/bw (Reuters, Sueddeutsche.com)

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