Facts are few and speculation abounds about the European Parliament’s special Committee of Inquiry into Emission Measurements in the Automotive Sector—in short, the EMIS committee or Dieselgate inquiry.
While we wait for certainty, this document prepared by FleishmanHillard offers an overview of what is known: membership, leadership, mandate, and timetable.
There are 45 members, including 1 chairperson, 4 vice-chairs, 2 co-rapporteurs, and 9 group coordinators. 1 member is also the rapporteur on the Commission’s January Proposal for a Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles. In other words, nearly 40% of the EMIS members have some sort of formal function in the committee.
The members have already agreed on the broad direction and timetable; the details of what will be discussed and which guests will be invited are being thrashed out between coordinators and members and should be agreed during the April regular meetings and those to follow.
Currently, the status is that:
- The rapporteurs are responsible for preparing a programme of hearings, which will be discussed by the coordinators. It appears that each group is currently preparing its list of guests to invite to appear before the committee. Keep in mind that the committee has already a calendar of 18 meetings, of two and a half hours each, for 2016, and has reserved the right to organise additional meetings in Brussels for hearings.
- EMIS has asked the Parliament’s research division to prepare two briefings, one to cover the legal obligations of ‘economic operators’ which can mean the car manufacturers as well as testing centres, and a second to cover the implementation and enforcement of the legal obligations with a focus on penalties and the ban on defeat mechanisms.
- The committee is planning missions, to be determined by the coordinators, though the number of missions will be limited to the minimum necessary.
Special committees happen once in a blue moon, so this offers an opportunity for MEPs to sink their teeth into a meaty issue that has the attention of the media as well as the interest of many European consumers. It is an occurrence to watch closely.