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Backing for France as EU meets to discuss refrigerant row

EUROPE: France has received backing for its decision to ban certain Mercedes cars over the German manufacturers continued use of the banned refrigerant R134A in its car air conditioning systems.
Backing for France as EU meets to discuss refrigerant row
Daimler, manufacturer of Mercedes cars, announced last year that it would continue with R134a, in direct contravention of the MAC Directive, after its own tests raised safety concerns over the use of new replacement R1234yf.

Representatives of EU member states are due to discuss the situation at a meeting in Brussels today but its tacit backing of the French decision could lead to similar bans in other EU states and fines against the German government.

European Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani said: 'The Commission has the duty to ensure that European Union law is fully and uniformly applied throughout the EU's internal market, so that a level playing field and fair competition conditions are respected for all economic operators.'

The MAC Directive on mobile air conditioning came into force on 1 January 2013. The Directive bans the use of refrigerants with a GWP of over 500 in car air-conditioning systems. After preliminary research with CO2, the car industry eventually preferred the HFO refrigerant R1234yf.

Antonio Tajani said that the Commission was informed earlier this month that France was taking temporary measures against Daimler vehicles in contravention of the MAC Directive.

'The Commission is committed to ensuring the highest level of safety of vehicles placed on the European market,' he said. 'However, until the present date there has been no confirmation that the safety issues that have been raised are of general nature, or rather linked to specific systems/vehicles. The relevant national authorities, in Germany, are currently evaluating this.

'There are also vehicles produced from May 2013 and approved under an extension of a previous type approval granted by the competent national (German) authority, whose legal status needs to be investigated further.'

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