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According to EU court adviser, environmental bodies can sue Volkswagen for cheating on emissions.
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According to EU court adviser, environmental bodies can sue Volkswagen for cheating on emissions.

The logo of German carmaker Volkswagen appears on a rim cap in a showroom at a Volkswagen car dealer, Brussels, Belgium, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

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BRUSSELS – A European adviser said Thursday that environmental groups must be allowed by Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), a German carmaker. They want to install software to control diesel engine emission.

Advocate General Athanasios Rantos of the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), issued a non-binding ruling. If the recommendation is followed by CJEU judges, it could lead to more Volkswagen lawsuits.

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it had cheated U.S. diesel engine test results, putting it in the most severe crisis of its history. It has spent more than 32 billion euro ($35.5 billion) on vehicle refits, legal costs, and fines.

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Deutsche Umwelthilfe, a German environmental association, took its complaint to a German court after the country’s motor transport authority allowed Volkswagen software that worked as temperature window devices.

According to the green group, such software is illegal as a defeat device.

Deutsche Umwelthilfe’s lawsuit was rejected by the German court. The German court stated that Deutsche Umwelthilfe has no legal standing and could not bring any legal action. However, it asked the CJEU to provide guidance.

Rantos, CJEU court adviser, supported the German group, saying that environmental groups defend public interest.

He said that “approved environmental associations must have the ability to bring legal proceedings against an EC-approval of vehicles equipped ‘defeat devices’ that may not be permitted.”

Rantos stated, “A so-called temperature window” device can only be permitted under strict conditions.”

C-873/19 Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Approval Motor Vehicles) is the case.

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Reporting by Foo Yunchee; Editing and editing by Kim Coghill

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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