France, Italy yet to reply to EU with VW scandal info: source

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 23, 2016 9:57 AM

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - All European Union nations except for France and Italy have replied to the European Commission's request for information from member states in connection with Volkswagen's emissions scandal, an EU source said on Tuesday.

The European Commission, the EU executive, has asked all 28 EU countries to investigate breaches of vehicle emissions rules after Volkswagen admitted last year it had used banned software to mask nitrogen oxide emissions and had also in Europe understated carbon dioxide levels.

At the same time, it sent a letter to Volkswagen asking for information, which European Environment and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said on Tuesday was so far unanswered.

Meanwhile, he said 26 of the 28 EU member states had replied to a letter particularly related to the irregularities on CO2 emissions he sent together with Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska, but "two big countries" had not.

He did not name the countries, but an EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were Italy and France.

Contacted by Reuters, French and Italian government officials had no immediate comment.

As vehicle testing to approve cars in the EU is overseen by national authorities, the Commission is reliant on each country to enforce rules.

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In January, it proposed a tougher regime that would give the Commission more power and diminish the role of national authorities. However, the draft law needs to be approved by member states.

The Commission can impose fines on manufacturers for breaking EU emissions laws, but says its first priority is to establish the facts.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Additional reporting by Agnieszka Flak in Milan and Gilles Guillaume in Paris; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer and Mark Potter)