Car emissions: a provisional agreement on the reform of the EU ‘type-approval’ framework has been reached

On 7 December 2017, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission reached a provisional agreement on the reform of type-approval and market surveillance for motor vehicles.

The draft regulation to modernise the type-approval system of motor vehicles was presented by the Commission on 27 January 2016 and will replace the EU’s current legal framework which is set out in directive 2007/46/EC.

The main points of the new rules are:

  • an improvement of the quality level and independence of type-approval and testing before a car is placed on the market. In particular, technical services will be regularly and independently audited, on the basis of stringent performance criteria, to obtain and maintain their designation by a Member State for testing and inspecting new car models;
  • an increase of checks of cars that are already on the EU market. Member States will have to carry out regular spot-checks on vehicles already on their market and such results will be made publicly available;
  • a stronger European oversight. The Commission will carry out market checks independently from Member States and will have the possibility to initiate EU-wide recalls. Moreover, a Forum for the exchange of information on enforcement, made up of representatives of national approval and market surveillance authorities, will be established.

The new Regulation will also strengthen the current ban on defeat devices, as car manufacturers will have to provide access to the car’s software protocols.

The Type-Approval Regulation complements a number of other important Commission initiatives for clean mobility, including new and improved car emissions tests which became mandatory on 1 September 2017, and proposals for new CO2 emissions targets to help accelerate the transition to low- and zero emission vehicles.

The provisional agreement is now subject to formal approval by the European Parliament and Council. The Regulation will become mandatory on 1 September 2020.


Sara Capruzzi