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An air quality summit between Environment Commissioner Vella and nine EU environment ministers whose countries are in breach of EU air quality standards ended with Commissioner Vella declaring ‘it doesn’t get bigger than the loss of life due to air pollution’ and expressing that the suggestions made by ministers at the meeting ‘were not substantial enough to change the big picture’ and inaction would have consequences for EU citizens’ health as well as legal ones for the respective Member States (read the full statement here). 

The Member States in question now have less than a week to present additional action against air pollution.

Anne Stauffer, Director for Strategy and Campaigns at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), commented: “HEAL welcomes Commissioner Vella’s confirmation that clean air is now a top priority for President Juncker and the entire European Commission and his insistence that further inaction from Member States will have legal consequences. Protecting citizens’ health from harmful air pollution should be a priority for national governments; action on air quality presents incredible opportunities to improve health and quality of life, yet governments still don’t hear the call. Citizens in Europe deserve better.