Half of EU governments fail to deliver a plan to cut air pollution

Five months past the deadline, EU officials are still waiting for fifteen Member States to detail their programmes to improve air quality.

National governments were due to submit comprehensive detailed plans to reduce their national emissions of dangerous pollutants – the so called ‘National Air Pollution Control Programme (NAPCP)’ – by April 2019, but five months later less half of them have delivered.

Margherita Tolotto, Clean Air Policy Officer at the EEB, said:

“This is an incredibly worrying sign: by ignoring this legal obligation, national governments are neglecting their duty to deliver cleaner air”.

Of the fifteen countries that failed at submitting a final plan, Croatia, Ireland, Latvia and Slovakia have only filed a draft version, while Bulgaria, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovenia and Spain did not file any plan at all, shows a list published by the European Commission.

As demonstrated by the wave of infringement procedures on air quality over the last years [1], too many Member States are not doing enough to tackle air pollution and protect their citizens’ health.

Through their NAPCP governments are required to detail how they will achieve the national emission reduction targets for 2020 and 2030 that they agreed on when adopting the revised National Emission Ceilings Directive less than three years ago. [2] This Directive complements the role of the EU’s air quality standards, which set maximum concentration levels for certain pollutants in the air we breathe.

Tolotto said:

“National governments must stop playing with citizens’ health and clarify as soon as possible how they intend to meet their minimum obligations to cut air pollutants. There is no time to lose.”




[1] The EEB has been following air quality infringement cases for years. In July 2019, the Commission sent Bulgaria and Spain to court for repeatedly breaching EU air quality standards. In 2018, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Romania and Hungary faced an infringement procedure. This chronological list of press releases tracks the story over 20017 and 2018.

[2] Member States’ policies and measures to reduce air pollutants emissions are also made accessible by the European Environment Agency.


For more information:

Roberta Arbinolo, Communications Officer


+32 2 89 72 267

Half of EU governments fail to deliver a plan to cut air pollution
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