Brussels calls out nine member states that break the EU’s air quality limits

EPA-EFE/GEORGI LICOVSKI

A woman wears a protective mask while riding her bicycle between cars in the center of Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 27 December 2017.

Brussels calls out nine member states that break the EU’s air quality limits


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The European Commission announced on Friday that a ministerial summit will be held at the end of the month on 30 January in Brussels, so that the EU executive will assist the member states which are subject to infringement procedures for non-compliance with the bloc’s standards on air quality.

Environment Ministers of nine member states, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia will participate, even though it is 23 member states whose emissions break EU limits for nitrogen dioxide or particulate matter (PM10), pollutants that are dangerous for health and are particularly related to road traffic. Sixteen more member states countries are also subject to infringement procedures, which are currently at different stages, linked to the emission limits of fine particles.

Nearly a year ago, the EU executive had already issued a “last warning” to five countries (France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy) among the 13 that did not respect the limits set for carbon dioxide. ‘nitrogen.

The meeting is considered to be part of an advanced stage of the European Commission’s infringement procedures, a step that is already taken for Bulgaria and Poland for their non-respect of air quality standards. This step along with the 30 January summit, aims to “protect citizens and clarify that if there is no improvement in air quality there will be legal consequences” for these countries, said Friday the Commissioner in charge of the Environment, Karmenu Vella in Brussels.

The European Commission announced on Friday that a ministerial summit will be held on January 30 in Brussels to address the member states guilty of non-compliance with the bloc’s air quality standards.

The environment ministers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia will participate, despite being only a select few of the 23 member states whose emissions break EU limits for nitrogen dioxide or particulate matter (PM10), both hazardous pollutants.

The summit comes nearly a year after the Commission issued a “final warning” to France, Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy for exceeding carbon dioxide limits. It is part of a larger campaign by the Commission publicly expose member states that fail to comply with EU regulations.

Bulgaria and Poland have already been publicly cited for having failed to comply with air quality standards. Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella said Friday that the Commission’s recent actions are aimed at “protecting citizens and making it clear that legal actions will be taken against these countries if no improvements are made regarding their air quality.”

More than 400,000 citizens die prematurely every year in the EU because of poor air quality, according to Vella. The Berlaymont’s published data on air quality shows that haxzardous airborne pollutants cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

To tackle the problems, the EU adopted an Action Plan on Friday with measures to help member states comply with EU environmental rules by reducing the overall volume of traffic, switching to electric cars, adapting driver behavior and reducing emissions from diesel vehicles.

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