EU wins powers on new cars after VW diesel scandal

The EU gained new powers Thursday to spot-check vehicles and fine automakers under tougher rules agreed after the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal.

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the 28 member states of the European Council said they reached agreement to tighten the rules "for safer and cleaner cars" following nearly two years of negotiations.

"I welcome that the key elements of our proposal have been upheld, including real EU oversight and enforcement powers," said Elzbieta Bienkowska, the European commissioner for industry.

"In the future, the commission will be able to carry out checks on cars, trigger EU-wide recalls, and impose fines of up to 30,000 euros per car when the law is broken," Bienkowska said in a statement.

The so-called Dieselgate scandal blew open when Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 that it installed software devices in 11 milion diesel-engine cars worldwide that reduced emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides when it detected the vehicle was undergoing tests.

Under the new rules that must be formally approved by the European Parliament and member states, technical services will be regularly and independently audited to obtain and maintain their designation by a member state for testing and inspecting new car models.

It gives the commission and other member countries the authority to challenge a designation.

The commission will be able to audit national type-approval authorities to ensure rules are implemented and enforced across the bloc.

Under the new rules, member states will have to carry out regular spot-checks on vehicles on their markets and make the results public.

Member states will now be able to act immediately against non-compliant vehicles on their territory, Currently, the authority that issued the type approval must first take action.

Meanwhile, the commission will carry out market checks independently from member states and will be able to launch EU-wide recalls.

It will have the power to impose fines on manufacturers or technical services of up to 30,000 euros per non-compliant car.

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