After the discovery of the fraud committed by Volkswagen to circumvent emission control tests, it became clear that the current EU legal framework on type approval and emission standards for cars shows structural weaknesses. The Member States are primarily responsible for implementing and enforcing the legislation, but often fail to do this. Consequently, the Commission has started infringement procedures against several Member States. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the current legal framework has to be updated.
In a first part, the current legislation is examined. However, not only the EU legislation on type approval and emission standards is considered, but as well other legislation that can have a deterrent effect for the carmaker. Besides, public law actions and private law claims can also incentivize the car manufacturer to honour the emission standards, and complement the type approval legislation. Still, strengthening the current environmental legislation is necessary to overcome the present problems, such as the quality and independence of testing, the effectiveness of the market surveillance system and the European oversight in the type-approval process. The Commission proposed to replace the current framework with a new Regulation. In a second part, this proposal is dealt with. The Parliament and the Council already expressed their position at first reading.European Energy and Environmental Law Review