Here’s a very important article from Spiegel, with wide-ranging implications. It argues that Germany’s diesel scandal occurred because the government has long been too lenient on the automobile industry. It concludes that deep ties between politicians and the sector allowed the situation to get out of hand, with enormous damage to the country’s reputation as one of the world’s best carmakers.
This lengthy article is a recommended read being an example of Spiegel’s investigative journalism at it’s best.
The article highlights how in Germany powerful industrial lobbying can seemingly sway government policy. If we are to believe the propositions, German automakers colluded together to understate environment risks and protect their profitability. In an election year, with huge numbers of auto industry related jobs, the German government showed weakness. So far, we have since little action from Brussels. But Spiegel highlights that the EU competition regulator has seriously large teeth, which have previously taken a bite at both Google and Gasprom. If it can be proven that cartel laws have been violated then penalties up to 10% of turnover can be levied. But challenging the German automakers is different to Google and Gasprom.
As a ‘Remainer’, I’m deeply saddened by this story which probably provides ‘Brexiteers’ with more ammunition. The EU is not level playing fields.