BRUSSELS – A team of investigative journalists led by Voxeurop carried out a cross-border investigation into how the European automotive industry lobby managed to weaken the Euro 7 regulation on new motor vehicle emissions standards.

Economic interests have taken precedence over the health of European citizens. The agreement between the governments, signed in Brussels on 25 September, 2023, is the culmination of the strategy adopted by the industry for years.

The final text, forced by the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU with the support of other member states close to car manufacturers, further diluted the proposal, already quite favourable to the industry, that the European Commission had put on the table in November 2022.

The project team got access to a confidential document which confirms that the representative of the European Commissioner for the Single Market, Thierry Breton, met with delegates from the automotive industry, before the Commission proposed measures which endorsed almost literally their demands. A source within the Commission confirmed that lobbying from the car industry was decisive in gradually relaxing the measures throughout the decision-making process.

The measures proposed by the Commission and those approved by the Council of the EU – which delay at least one year the application of the Regulation – go against a series of independent studies paid by the Commission itself with 2 million euros of taxpayers' money.

The journalists also got confidential access to studies and demonstrated that the Euro 7 standard would affect the health of millions of Europeans. Experts consulted by the team estimated 1,700 additional premature deaths in the EU, due to the gap between the less ambitious standards proposed by the Council and the original Commission proposal.

Photo credit: Traffic Jam | Kim Hansen CC BY-SA 

Team members

Gian-Paolo Accardo

Gian-Paolo Accardo is an Italian-Dutch journalist based in Brussels and Paris.

Gian-Paolo Accardo

James Jackson

James Jackson is a freelance investigative reporter and broadcaster based in Berlin.

James Jackson

Lorenzo di Stasi

Lorenzo Di Stasi is an independent Italian journalist based in Brussels.

Lorenzo di Stasi

Stefano Valentino

Stefano Valentino is an Italian freelance journalist.

Stefano Valentino

Voxeurop SCE

Voxeurop is a community of journalists, editors, translators, media partners, loyal readers and members from over 30 countries.


Staffan Dahllöf

Staffan Dahllöf is a freelance reporter based in Copenhagen, specialised in FOI.

Staffan Dahllöf
€14.100, allocated on 23/05/2023




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