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EU to investigate regulators for failings in Volkswagen Group emissions cheating

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The European Union will conduct an inquiry into whether regulators failed to prevent the car industry from cheating emissions tests.

The European Parliament has voted to set up a committee to investigate the Volkswagen emissions scandal, including scrutiny of the European Commission, the body which is required to uphold and enforce EU legislation and manage the day-to-day business of the EU.

The parliamentary inquiry could last for up to a year, reports the BBC.

It will investigate alleged breaches of European Union law and "maladministration".

Forty-five members of the Parliament will sit on the committee and preside over public hearings of testimony from government, EU and industry representatives.

Volkswagen said in September that it rigged US tests for nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars and that up to 11 million vehicles could be fitted with illegal devices capable of cheating tests.

"Defeat devices are banned in EU law," European Commission spokeswoman Lucia Caudet said. "The policing in the area is the responsibility of the appropriate national enforcement authorities."

UK competition lawyer Miles Trower accused the European Commission of giving “benign treatment” to Europe’s carmakers back in September.

Trower, who works with the National Franchised Dealers Association, believes the Commission’s reluctance to rebalance the powers of dealers and carmakers is an indication of how highly regarded vehicle manufacturers have been.

He highlighted that after six years of cheating it took a non EU regulator to identify Volkswagen's abuse of the rules.

“Are these types of abuse inevitable when the most powerful companies in the supply chain are left unchecked by those supposed to regulate them, and benefit from continual benign treatment.

"The permission of dramatic imbalances in negotiating power in the supply chain will only encourage further examples,” Trower said at the CECRA European Car Dealers Day in Brussels.

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