EU nations agree on draft car approval rules despite German reluctance

FILE PHOTO: A Volkswagen Passat TDI diesel engine is seen in central London, Britain September 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU nations agreed on Friday on new draft rules for car approvals despite opposition from Germany, EU sources said, in a bid to prevent a repeat of the Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE emissions cheating scandal.

Under the draft text agreed by member states, seen by Reuters, the European Commission would be allowed to impose fines of up to 30,000 euros ($32,613) per vehicle on manufacturers who cheat the system.

German carmaker Volkswagen has admitted to using software to cheat U.S. diesel emission tests in September 2015.

EU diplomats say Germany, Europe’s largest car manufacturer, has been reluctant to hand more market surveillance powers to Brussels despite the fallout from the VW scandal.

“They are not very hot on the proposal to give new powers to the Commission,” an EU diplomat told Reuters.

The draft rules will be discussed by EU economy ministers on May 29 before negotiations with European Parliament and the Commission on the final legislation.

Frustrated by what it sees as governments colluding with carmakers, EU regulators launched legal cases against Germany, Britain and five other EU members in December for failing to properly police the industry.

“The Council is right not to let Germany stand in the way of compromise, as the country has so far failed to penalize VW and yet continues to oppose any EU controls,” a spokeswoman for campaign group Transport and Environment said.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Susan Thomas