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VW: EPP Group expects Verheugen to shed light on scandal

Date

12 Jul 2016

Sections

Transport
Climate & Environment

The EPP Group expects that the key testimony of the former European Commissioner for Industry, Gunther Verheugen, before the European Parliament Inquiry Committee on Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector will finally shed some light on the car emissions scandal.

“It has been established without any doubt that former Commissioner Günter Verheugen was the legislative father of the problematic Directives and Regulations on car emissions exposed by the VW scandal. No inquiry could take place without him appearing to answer crucial questions in front of the inquiry committee”, said the EPP Group Spokesman in the Inquiry Committee, Krišjānis Kariņš MEP.

It has been a challenge to make the German Social Democrat politician accept to testify in the Inquiry Committee. He refused a first request by the committee Chairman and a second invitation from the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, both from the Socialist political family, which was also declined.

However, after Verheugen’s name came up several times during the hearings of the Inquiry Committee “it was imperative for the credibility of the Committee’s work to confront him on the actions he took while in office. Günther Verheugen is the star witness and without his testimony, our work will be hindered or, in the worst case, will be futile”, said EPP Group MEP Pablo Zalba, one of the two MEPs responsible for drafting the Inquiry Report.

Günther Verheugen was responsible for the CARS 21 high-level working group of the European Commission where representatives from car manufacturers participated in the debate on the future of the automotive sector. He is also considered as the man behind the content of the legislative proposal.

Nevertheless, there is still no date for Verheugen’s testimony.

It was originally scheduled to take place this Thursday 14 July as the committee was preparing for the last hearings before the summer recess. In addition, the vote on an interim Report, which is of a technical nature and without policy conclusion, is planned for this Thursday.

Verheugen’s reluctance to appear before the Inquiry Committee has not been the only one from the Social Democrat ranks as there is still no confirmation that the former Socialist Commissioners Erkki Liikanen and Margot Wallström (current Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs) will appear before the Committee.

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