EU plans new rules for emission tests following VW scandal
The European Union has proposed new rules to test car emissions following the scandal involving VW diesel vehicles.
They want the tests to be carried out by independent assessors who are not connected to the motor manufacturers.
The EU also wants to be able to recall any vehicles across the region and carry out spot checks on the road.
At the moment tests are carried out at a national level and are then valid across Europe.
The new plan to test the level of nitrogen oxide being emitted from car exhausts will apply to all countries in the EU.
Laboratories that test cars would also no longer be paid directly by the manufacturers, in order to prevent conflicts of interest.
The Commission also wants the power to order recalls.
"To regain customers' trust in this important industry, we need to tighten the rules but also ensure they are effectively observed," said Jyrki Katainen, the European Commission's vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness.
The EU does not, at the moment, have the powers to act against any single nation. It faced severe criticism following the VW emission scandal that it was too scared to take on Germany's power car industry.
Officials believe the Volkswagen scandal exposed serious weaknesses in the way new cars are tested and certified before being allowed onto the road.
The commission wants to give itself the power to order recalls at a European level, and to impose heavy fines on manufacturers which allow illegal vehicles onto the market.
It also wants to set up a system of spot checks, so that if a manufacturer were to succeed in cheating its way through a test, the deception would soon be discovered.
The new reforms could face stiff resistance from some countries opposed to seeing powers taken away from national authorities.
Member of Parliament for the Green Party, Bas Eickhout said: "It will be attacked heavily by the member states because it boils down to giving away sovereignty to Brussels."
But Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organisation, welcomed the new rules.
"Authorities across Europe failed to expose the use of Volkswagen's illegal defeat device and for years consumers have been unable to rely on carmakers' official fuel consumption figures.
"Without radical change to the approval system of passenger cars in Europe, the car emission-scandal is bound to happen again."
The proposals will take months, possibly years, for EU lawmakers and national governments to agree.