Clean Air Forum – Missed opportunity for civil society to share views with the Council of ministers
A range of stakeholders are participating in the fourth edition of the Clean Air Forum, in Rotterdam.
The Clean Air Forum is a crucial, biennial meeting organised by the European Commission to discuss the challenges and opportunities related to air quality action. The Clean Air Forum is the flagship event at European level when it comes to air quality.
This year’s event was particularly timely given that a key legislative instrument for clean air – the Ambient Air Quality Directives (AAQD) – has entered trilogues. The trilogue process involves the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of the EU work to agree on a common text for Europe’s future air laws.
Representatives of the Commission, Parliament and the Council were included in a high-level panel, joined by representatives from Industry, the Committee of the Regions and civil society itself. The aim of the panel was to exchange opinions, together with an engaged audience, about the respective negotiating positions regarding the soon-to-be agreed AAQD.
Unfortunately, despite their participation being announced at the start of the session, the Council did not show up. This left the audience with no opportunity to discuss the content of the Council’s position which was adopted on 9 November amid criticism from civil society.
Faustine Bas-Defossez, Director for Nature, Environment and Health at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) said:
“The Clean Air Forum was the occasion to develop a constructive debate, involving a wide range of stakeholders, and to identify potential ways to further advance the discussions. The absence of the European Parliament and the Council representatives was a missed opportunity. Fortunately, there have been opportunities for several exchanges with European Parliament representatives that have already happened in the past, however today’s meeting was probably the only public meeting where the Council’s position on the AAQD could have been debated. We still hope there will be another public occasion to engage with the Council on their position.”