The European Commission says the seven member states have failed to fulfill their obligations under EU vehicle type approval legislation.
The UK is among seven EU nations facing legal action from the European Commission for failing to act following the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
The Commission is opening infringement actions against Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and the UK for not applying their national provisions on penalties despite the company’s use of illegal defeat device software.
Another three countries, the Czech Republic, Greece and Lithuania, have been accused of failing to introduce sanctions for emissions violations into their national law.
The commission also said that Germany and the UK broke the law by refusing to disclose information on potential emissions irregularities in Volkswagen and other car manufacturers on their territories.
A spokesman for the UK’s transport ministry said the country enacted legislation to tackle emissions test manipulations in 2009.
“The UK will be responding in the strongest possible terms [to the EU action],” he said.
German minister for transport Alexander Dobrindt was quoted by Reuters as saying, “Germany is the only European country to have implemented a comprehensive list of measures to prevent unauthorised use of defeat devices.”
Europe’s Industry Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska said: “Abiding by the law is first and foremost the duty of car manufacturers. But national authorities across the EU must ensure that car manufacturers actually comply with the law.
“For the future, the Commission has tabled proposals to introduce greater European oversight and to make the type approval system more robust. We expect the European Parliament and Council to reach an agreement swiftly.”
The action is the first step of the commission’s procedure for national infringements. The Member States have two months to respond to the arguments; otherwise, the commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.
The Commission took key steps to make vehicles more environment-friendly and restore consumer confidence.
Realistic testing methods have been introduced to measure both nitrogen oxides (NOx) and CO2 emissions from cars and
The Commission also proposed a Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles.