HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE

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E.U. Commission Threatens VW with Enforcement Action

European Parliament in Strasbourg
E.U. Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, picture source: DPA

European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has threatened Volkswagen with enforcement action if the automaker doesn’t offer European consumers compensation for damages stemming from the diesel emissions scandal.

Ms. Jourova, in a statement to Handelsblatt, said VW has breached E.U. consumer legislation and has failed to meet key consumer demands despite more than half a year of discussions on the issue. The national consumer protection agencies of the E.U. member states will meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss further steps.

Tomorrow I will support E.U. consumer authorities to bring this to the next level and start joint enforcement action against Volkswagen,” Ms. Jourova said. “VW needs to move on the issue and ensure that consumers are treated fairly all over Europe.”

VW has refused to offer European consumers a deal similar to its $10-billion settlement with diesel owners in the United States.

The automaker claims that the fix for the more than 8 million diesel vehicles in Europe with cheat software installed is simpler than in the United States and will not impact vehicle performance, leaving no basis for compensation claims.

If the E.U. member states’ national consumer protection agencies determine that VW has violated the law during their meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, they could then impose penalties against the automaker. Consumers could also take VW to court for damages.

VW condemned Ms. Jourova’s threat to pursue enforcement action, saying it would hamper its repair program.

“The announcement by the E.U. commissioner is incomprehensible and could discourage customers from coming to the repair facilities,” said a spokesman for the automaker.

 

Read more in Tuesday’s edition.

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