A total of seven member states are accused of not doing enough to combat emissions test manipulations.

The European Union has launched legal action against seven member states, including the UK and Germany, for failing to uphold emissions standards in the wake of the dieselgate scandal, reports Automotive News Europe.

The United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Luxembourg are accused of failing to levy the kind of penalties Volkswagen faces in the United States for using a “defeat device” in diesel engines that allow them to exceed legal limits for nitrogen oxide emissions under real world conditions.

The emissions have been linked to respiratory problems and early deaths.

VW has agreed a settlement package for consumers and regulators in the U.S. that totals $15.3 billion. Before any fines or criminal penalties are imposed.

EU officials added that the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Greece do not have provisions in their national laws that would allow them to levy fines for breaches of emissions rules.

Under EU rules, different bodies in individual member states are responsible for certifying vehicles for sale to the public. But a vehicle certified in Austria, for instance, can be sold throughout the bloc.

German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt reacted to the action, saying: “Germany is the only European country to have implemented a comprehensive list of measures to prevent unauthorized use of defeat devices.”

A spokesman for the UK Department for Transport said: “The UK will be responding in the strongest possible terms.” Rules to tackle emissions test cheating have been in place since 2009 in the UK.

In 2007 the EU banned the use of defeat devices, unless emissions control equipment needs to be turned off for safety reasons, or to protect the engine.

A number of other automakers, including Fiat Chrysler and Opel, have been accused of breaching European emissions standards.  

Though it has instigated a massive recall of 8 million vehicles in Europe to counteract the defeat device, VW has faced calls to offer compensation to European owners. But the automaker maintains that, since it not break EU law, reparations are unnecessary.

Germany has said the rules are poorly framed. European Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska has countered that the letter of the law is clear and that member states need to respect its spirit.

Source: Automotive News Europe