German transport minister rejects accusations of "comradery" with automotive industry

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-01 23:10:18|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Alexander Dobrindt (CSU), the German Minister for Transport on Tuesday rejected criticisms that his department has been too soft on scandal-ridden carmakers.

He insisted that he was "not available for comradery" with the German automotive industry while speaking on German news channel ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen), a German public service television broadcaster based in Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate.

Dobrindt described such claims as "simply wrong" and said that accusations that ties between German politicians and the country's automotive industry were too close are not justified.

There was merely a general partnership between politics, business and society which constituted the foundation of the European capitalist model of a social market economy, he said.

Despite the wave of criticism that he has faced in connection to recently-surfaced accusations that leading German carmakers have colluded illegally for decades and the ongoing "dieselgate" scandal, Dobrindt saw no reason to reorganize the KBA.

Last week, German media reported that the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), a sub-department of Dobrindt's ministry, had censored an investigatory report into the emissions cheating practices of Volkswagen AG following an intervention by the Wolfsburg-based carmaker.

Barbara Hendricks (SPD), the German Minister for the Environment, called for a reorganization of the KBA in response to revelations.

Many of the changes demanded in public had already been implemented according to the minister. Dobrindt once again denied having failed to act in his official capacity despite having prior knowledge of the installation of illicit software in diesel vehicles to understate their emissions levels in test settings.

The recall of 2.5 million vehicles were proof of his dedication to solving the issue. Investigations remained ongoing which was why new information could and did still emerge.

Dobrindt further resisted calls for a fixed expiry date for combustion engines.

"I do not understand these simplistic messages," he said. It was not the place of government to decide on the technology of the future, although industry had a duty to remain innovative and open to change.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had described government proposals which sought to outlaw a given type of motors as an "unimaginative" means of combating nitrogen oxide pollution and climate change.

On Wednesday, the German officials from the country's federal and state governments will hold a highly-anticipated "diesel summit" with the representatives of the automotive industry to discuss lowering nitrogen oxide pollution levels.