It has been alleged that former European commissioner for industry Antonio Tajani ‘knew’ back in 2010 that the car industry had manipulated emission tests. Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) publishes hitherto unknown documents and minutes from the Commission, which show that Tajani and Volkswagen’s senior executive management met on a regular basis between 2010 and 2013.
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson (S) said in Dagens Nyheter on Thursday that the Ministry of Finance had begun to look at how many emissions-rigged Volkswagen cars had been incorrectly classed as green cars, to see if the government had paid out subsidies on false grounds. The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) has also said it is analysing the matter to see if Sweden can claim damages of the carmaker.
However, green car classification is based solely on carbon emissions. In the case of the Volkswagen scandal, the diesel cars emit nitrogen dioxide, so there would appear to be very little opportunity for Sweden to pursue the case, says the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen).
Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank may ask Volkswagen to pay back loans equivalent to some SKr 17 billion. Much of the money has gone to research aimed at developing cleaner engines.
Swedish’s Ministry of Finance has called on Volkswagen to say how many emission-rigged cars have been classed as green cars, the reason being that Sweden may have paid out subsidies on false grounds.
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson says it is too soon to say whether Sweden will claim damages of Volkswagen, but she expects the carmaker to provide more information “as soon as possible”.
Meeting Volkswagen representatives on Wednesday, Environment Minister Åsa Romson has called on the carmaker to inform car owners and the authorities of how the problem is to be resolved.
Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Unit is evaluating whether an investigation into Volkswagen can be carried out under Swedish jurisdiction.
Volkswagen has said it will recall 11 million emission-rigged vehicles worldwide. In a statement issued on Tuesday, the company said it was working on a technical solution to correct the manipulated software in the cars with EA 189 engines. In Sweden, 224,746 Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Seat vehicles will be recalled.
The government has called representatives of Volkswagen’s Swedish division to a meeting today to seek clarification on local vehicles.