European Commission sues Hungary over air pollution! – UPDATE
The European Commission on Thursday said it will take Hungary and five other member states to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failing to respect air quality limits and address the EU’s concerns.
EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella told the press that
by taking Britain, France, Hungary, Germany, Italy and Romania to court over air pollution,
the commission had initiated the third phase of the ongoing infringement procedures against the member states.
At an air quality ministerial summit in Brussels in January, Vella gave Hungary and eight other members states a tight deadline to submit finalised plans for complying with European Union air quality laws. All nine countries were earlier issued a “reasoned opinion”, the second step in an infringement procedure, over their failure to comply with particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide thresholds.
“The member states referred to the court today have received sufficient last chances over the last decade to improve the situation,” Vella said. “It is my conviction that today’s decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale,” he added.
As regards the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain the commission has said that the measures currently being implemented or under consideration in those countries appear to be able to remedy the identified shortcomings if they are implemented correctly.
The EC said in a press release that the six countries being taken to court had failed to present any “credible, effective and timely measures to reduce pollution, within the agreed limits and as soon as possible, as required under EU law”.
Farm ministry: Hungary working to improve air quality
Hungary has “already done a lot” to improve air quality and the government is taking further related measures, the farm ministry on Friday, after the European Commission stepped up its infringement procedure against Hungary for failing to take action to curb excessive air pollution.
The ministry is preparing a scheme to restrict emissions of every pollutant, to be completed in 2019. Once the national programme is adopted, the ministry will review the regional schemes to improve air quality locally.
In its statement, the ministry said it was crucial to inform residents about risks around air pollution, noting that most particulate matter in the air (PM10) came from wood and coal-burning stoves and from the illegal burning of household waste.