The European Commission will appeal a decision by the Court of Justice of the EU which ruled that a relaxing of car emissions standards was illegal, EU commissioner for industry Elzbieta Bienkowska told MEPs.
The commission is now preparing new EU legislation that will have the same effect as the law declared illegal by the courts in December, when the General Court ruled that a 2016 relaxing of car emissions limits in real world tests, which carmakers successfully lobbied for, was illegal.
The relaxtion meant that the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test, which sets the NOx limit at 80mg/km, included a 'conformity factor' - a multiplication by which the original emissions standard can be stretched. This allowed for emissions as high as 168 mg/km (2.1 times the limit) during a transitional period until 2020.
"The commission did not have the power to amend the Euro 6 emission limits for the new real driving emission tests," the court said in a press statement.
However, EU commissioner for industry Elzbieta Bienkowska said: "Our legal experts in the commission state there are legal grounds that justify an appeal.
"But I do not want to be wrongly understood. My focus is to get new legislation in place in time. I want you, parliament, to have a say," she said, adding that if the new legislation is adopted in time, the commission would withdraw the appeal.
Former members of the EU parliament's inquiry committee into the diesel emissions scandal Dieselgate, were not happy with Bienkowska's announcement.
"I am disappointed," said Belgian MEP Kathleen Van Brempt, the former chairwoman of the inquiry committee.
Fellow Belgian MEP Mark Demesmaeker, of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, said the decision was a "bad signal".