On 27 January 2016 the European Commission has laid
legislative proposals on the table to ensure car manufacturers comply strictly
with all EU safety, environmental and production requirements. The Commission
has proposed a major revision of the so-called EU type approval framework.
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. The 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).
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.
The proposal for a Regulation will help
to achieve three objectives:
- Reinforce the independence and quality of testing that
allows a car to be placed on the market: The majority
of Member States designate technical services, which are paid directly by car manufacturers, for
the testing and inspection of the vehicle's compliance with EU type approval
requirements. The Commission proposes to modify the remuneration system to
avoid financial links between technical services and manufacturers, which could
lead to conflicts of interest and compromise the independence of testing. The
proposal also foresees more stringent performance criteria for these technical
services, which should be regularly and independently audited to obtain and
maintain their designation. National type approval authorities will be subject
to peer reviews to ensure that the relevant rules are implemented and enforced
rigorously across the EU.
- Introduce an effective market surveillance system to
control the conformity of cars already in circulation: While the current rules deal mainly with ex
ante controls, in the future Member States and the Commission will carry
out spot-checks on vehicles already on the market. This will make it possible
to detect non-compliance at an early stage, and ensure that immediate and
robust remedial action is taken against vehicles that are found to be
non-compliant and/or to present a serious safety risk or harm to the
environment. All Member States should be able to take safeguard measures
against non-compliant vehicles on their territory without waiting for the
authority that issued the type approval to take action. Member States will have
to review regularly the functioning of their market surveillance activities and
make the results publicly available.
- Reinforce the type approval system with greater
European oversight: The Commission
will have the power to suspend, restrict or withdraw the designation of
technical services that are underperforming and too lax in applying the rules.
In the future the Commission will be able to carry out ex-post verification
testing (through its Joint Research Centre) and, if needed, initiate recalls.
By allowing the Commission to impose financial penalties, the proposal will
deter manufacturers and technical services from allowing non-compliant vehicles
onto the market. The Commission will also chair an Enforcement Forum which will
develop common compliance verification strategies with Member States and
organise joint audits of technical services and peer reviews of type-approval
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."
Regulation will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council, which
should adopt their positions on the proposal. After its final adoption, the
Regulation will be directly applicable. It will repeal and replace Directive
2007/46/EC (the ‘Framework Directive’).
Source and further information:
development of the proposal will be closely monitored by CEOC International as
it will likely change the current type approval system for cars.
The Special Newsbriefing is also available to download here.