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When the regulators fail

Tom Fox | December 20, 2016

One of the more unexplored issues from the Volkswagen emissions-testing scandal is why no EU regulator or member country’s regulators discovered the massive fraud and deception engaged in by VW in its 10-year campaign around its defeat device. Instead it fell to investigators in the United States and this country’s Environmental Protection Agency to discover the company had broken the law. EU regulators were no doubt humiliated that their U.S. counterparts brought the matter first to the public’s attention and then brought the first regulatory actions. If the EU regulators were not humiliated, they well should have been.

Now this issue has moved a more central part of the ongoing narrative as a draft report from a European Parliament investigation has determined EU regulators engaged in “maladministration” for the failure to determine or even investigate whether the EU ban on defeat-devices similar to the ones employed by VW was being violated. The report went on to note, “...

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