EU takes legal action against Germany in Daimler coolant row

BRUSSELS Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:00am EST

BRUSSELS Jan 23 (Reuters) - The European Commission has launched legal proceedings against Germany over Daimler's refusal to remove a banned refrigerant from new cars, the EU's industry chief said on Thursday.

The decision follows months of investigation by the Commission into the German luxury car maker's refusal - backed by Berlin - to follow an EU law banning the air-conditioning coolant known as R134a from the start of last year.

"We are opening an procedure against Germany. This is not a final decision by the Commission," EU industry commissioner Antonio Tajani told reporters.

The EU executive also threatened Britain, Belgium and Luxembourg with legal action, saying it suspected them of seeking to circumvent the coolant rules by approving new vehicles on the basis of older technical standards.