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Henkel: “The JRC calls itself a research institute, but it looks like a bureaucratic authority”

20 April 2016

Henkel: “The JRC calls itself a research institute, but it looks like a bureaucratic authority”

Hans-Olaf Henkel MEP comments on the Joint Research Centre.

The EMIS inquiry committee held its first witness hearing today. The Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) were invited. The JRC had already identified gaps in the European type approval system that could result in manipulation in the measurement of emissions through the possible use of a “cheat software”, or “defeat device” back in 2011 and 2013. These gaps and the accompanying possibility of manipulation should have caused some skepticism, especially since the emission values have been exceeded up to 47 times under real driving emissions (RDE) test conditions. Because it would have been outside its former mandate, the JRC refrained from further investigation of the potential use of defeat devices. The only response of the European Commission to the findings of the JRC was to establish a working group on RDE tests.

Hans-Olaf Henkel, MEP for the ALFA-party and coordinator and shadow rapporteur for the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the third largest group in the Parliament, commented today’s hearing with the following words: “I myself have led a research association with 86 research organizations. Researchers are genuinely curious. The JRC calls itself a research institute, but it looks like a typical Brussels-based bureaucratic authority! The biggest surprise was discovering that in 1998, US authorities fined a number of car manufacturers for the use of defeat devices and that no European or national authority took this as an opportunity to investigate whether such practice also existed in Europe! That should have come as a real bombshell!”

He also criticized the JRC for sending to the hearing a director who has been in office for less than six months and whose responsibilities do not include technical issues and emissions tests despite the fact that this was at the heart of today’s hearing.

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