On 27 January 2016, the European Commission (EC) put forward a proposal that, if approved by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, would make fundamental and far-reaching changes to the current motor vehicle type-approval framework defined by Directive 2007/46/EC. The Commission had already begun a review of the European type-approval scheme when the Volkswagen story broke, but that scandal and subsequent events, by highlighting the severity of the problem of excess pollutant emissions, accelerated the pace and broadened the scope of the review.
The proposal includes a number of provisions that would reinforce the independence and quality of vehicle tests performed by third parties and enhance the ability of member states to perform market surveillance and enforcement. It does not call for creation of a central European type-approval authority, but would give the European Commission an oversight role, as well as the ability to initiate recalls and impose financial penalties on noncompliant vehicle manufacturers and technical services. In the global context, this proposal is relevant for vehicle markets that adopt the EU regulatory requirements.