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Kathleen Van Brempt on the Monkeygate: It is time for the Commission to act and show car makers that they are not untouchable


Climate & Environment
At the request of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament will discuss tonight the manipulation of scientific research by multinationals in the wake of the emission tests on monkeys and humans by German car makers.
S&D vice-president for sustainability Kathleen Van Brempt, who was also the chair of the parliamentary inquiry committee into emission measurements in the automotive sector (EMIS), said:
“Exposing human beings and monkeys to toxic diesel fumes in a laboratory brings us to an all-time low. The fact that these tests were done in a laboratory with cars that are specifically calibrated to perform at their best during the prescribed test-cycles, even manipulates the results.
“The way the car industry is behaving, is very similar to that of the tobacco industry in the past. For years, the tobacco industry was financing supposedly independent research to refute the hazardous impact of cigarettes, with the aim to undermine the work of legislators and to mislead consumers. Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes used the same modus operandi. They funded the European Research Group of Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), the so-called independent research institute that commissioned the controversial tests.
“As long as public authorities do not punish their misbehaviour, the car industry will get away with it. As long as strong enforcement of all types of legislation stays out, they will continue their monkey business. 
“In the US, the Volkswagen group spent 20 billion US$ on compensation and penalties for half a million cars equipped with defeat devices. In the EU they sold 8,5 million tampered cars but paid no fines or compensation at all.
“So, it is time for the Commission and national market surveillance authorities show their teeth. Leaving millions of fraudulent cars on our roads more than two years after the discovery of dieselgate is simply not acceptable. In our European economy and society, no private company, no industrial sector, no matter how large it might be, may be seen and act as the untouchables. We urge the Commission to do whatever it takes to end these unethical practices.”