The European Environment Agency (GEA) today denounced that 15 European governments, including France, Germany, Poland and Spain, failed to submit air pollution reduction programs by the end of the month.
In a statement, GEA stresses that the European Union authorities “are still waiting to receive the crucial air pollution reduction programs of fifteen EU governments“, explaining that countries should have explained in those programs how they intended to reduce emissions of harmful air pollutants.
These “National Air Pollution Control Programs” should have been sent to the European Commission during the month of April, according to the organization, which points out that only 13 of the 28 EU member states have submitted them.
GEA is one of the largest networks of environmental organizations, bringing together some 150 members from 30 countries.
“It is shocking that more than half of EU governments have not met the deadline for something so important. Every day of delay in cutting air pollution means more people suffering the consequences on their health,” said Margherita Tolotto, director of GEA Clean Air Policies.
“With only a few weeks to go before the European elections, we are reminded why EU supervision is so important, even on such an important issue as air pollution – where there is broad public support to action – national governments are failing to comply. ”
“We need the EU to hold them accountable,” he added.
Among the countries that failed to submit their programs are Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
“France, Germany and Spain were part of a” toxic bloc “of EU member states denounced to the European Court of Justice last year for failing to reduce emissions quickly enough to meet EU air quality standards” , writes the organization, recalling that the court has already ruled against Bulgaria and Poland in previous cases.
Programs to reduce missing air pollution are a requirement of the National Emission Ceilings (NEC), which sets reduction targets for harmful pollution by country. In these documents, governments should detail the measures they will use to reduce emissions in areas such as transport, industry and agriculture.