Just How Many European Laws Did Volkswagen Break In Dieselgate?
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It is another day for Volkswagen, and the hits just keep on coming! In today’s installment of the fallout from the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, the European Commission said Volkswagen violated the law in 20 European Union countries because of its emissions cheating. A story about the depth of the emissions cheating scandal appeared in the German daily Die Welt.
In a news conference following the story, EU Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova called the Dieselgate emissions crisis a European challenge. She indicated that the scandal might go deeper as the Commission was looking to see if the automaker broke not just one, but two sets of rules that apply across the EU. The rules are:
- The Consumer Sales and Guarantees Directive – this prevents exaggerated environmental claims in ads.
- The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.
The laws “set high standards for all member states to enforce in case these rules are breached,” Jourova emphasized. “It seems to [be] the case in so-called Dieselgate.” In recent weeks, consumer groups and others have shown that VW has not been proving sufficient information to consumers, she said.
She plans a meeting with consumer associations on Thursday and national protection agencies Sept. 29. Later on, she will meet with the automaker. “It is not my intention to come with strong action without fair communication with the company,” she said. “I cannot say I am going to take a stricter approach. I want them to look at the valid legislation and see what they have to do.”
Jourova wants the automaker to compensate consumers in Europe as it has in the U.S. over Dieselgate. The automaker declined to comment.
The European Commission has repeatedly tried to work with the automaker to no avail. For example, EU Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska has asked VW to consider compensating consumers voluntarily, said Reuters today. However, she hasn’t received an encouraging response.
VW has so far rejected calls for European compensation plans similar to the one negotiated in the U.S. where the automaker has pledged billions to pay owners of its rigged diesels.