brussels - The European Commission is dragging six EU governments before the European Court of Justice because of the substandard air quality in their country. According to Brussels, Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Great Britain have for years done too little to reduce the emission of life-threatening substances such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter to legal limits. Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are currently escaping a lawsuit.
EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella (Environment) called at the end of January the environment ministers of the nine countries in Brussels. He gave them an ultimatum to quickly submit effective action plans to tackle the dirty air. Proposals that have been submitted to this are insufficient in six cases, Vella believes. He fears that without legal action the EU will remain in these countries for years with failing policies.
The commission had already initiated procedures for breaches of EU law, but with the ultimatum, Vella hoped to avoid the last step, to the EU court, because ruling can take years to come.
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