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HEAL in Poland: Meeting with EU Environment Commissioner Vella

At the end of January the EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella held a meeting with representatives of Polish NGOs. The focus of the meeting was the circular economy and air quality.

During the two day visit, Vella had the opportunity to talk with representatives of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economy, as well as environmental and health NGOs.

Regarding air quality, Commissioner Vella gave an overview on the current EU regulation to improve air quality and highlighted the latest science on the health effects. In December 2015, the EU Commission had referred Poland to the European Court of Justice for breaching EU air quality standards.

In the exchange that followed, civil society representatives pointed out that alert levels for the public should be harmonized across the EU, regulations to eliminate low-quality coal and solid fuels should be introduced, better information systems on high pollution levels implemented. HEAL’s Lukasz Adamkiewicz also urged Commissioner Vella to continue to aim high for the upcoming trilogue negotiations on the National Emissions Ceilings Directive. _
In response, the Commissioner assured participants of the meeting about the support of the EU Commission for the introduction of ambitious regulations to improve air quality. He stated in addition that continuous engagement of civil society at national level was needed in order to support and create synergies with the work of the EU Commission.

Prior to and during the meeting HEAL was active on social media at EU and Polish level to raise awareness of this important exchange.

Press release on the court case against Poland:

Originally posted on 23 February 2016

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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