Exhaust emissions committee: many files only with secret classification

The Bundestag’s exhaust gas investigation committee has received many requested files only in black or with secret classification. Of 800 files received from ministries and authorities, 400 were declared confidential, said Chairman Herbert Behrens (Left Party) in Berlin on Tuesday. In open files, some long passages had been made illegible. Behrens announced that the members of parliament would follow up on this and would not be satisfied with such support for the clarification work. If necessary, legal action could be taken: "The ministries and authorities should know that they are dealing with a critical committee."On Thursday (8. September 2016), the first experts are to be heard in public.

The head of the committee emphasized that in view of the relatively short time available for the committee’s work until the 2017 parliamentary elections, a concentrated approach should be taken. There must therefore be no trickery in the procedure. The members of the committee wanted to examine the files received by the end of August 2016, also with a view to secret classifications. In one file, for example, information on a conversation with the president of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), Matthias Wissmann, had been blacked out. More than 220 pages were removed from a file of the Federal Motor Transport Authority with reference to ongoing investigations.

Behrens said he was counting on interest in clarification from representatives of all factions: "We have three million people directly affected, who are obviously driving a different car than they thought they had bought."The manipulation software has to be removed from 2.4 million Volkswagen vehicles, and 630.000 more cars, manufacturers want to improve emissions settings. In addition, millions of people want to know what really comes out of exhaust pipes, Behrens said. This is not just about Volkswagen, but a scandal that affects the entire industry.

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