The Toxic Block finally brought towards justice
After years of call to order from the Commission towards France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Hungary and Romania, the verdict has finally been pronounced. The six Member States, nicknamed as the Toxic Block by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), are referred to the Court of Justice “for failing to respect agreed air quality limit values and for failing to take appropriate measures to keep exceedance periods as short as possible”.
Air quality summit
On January 30th 2018 the European Commission organized a summit on air pollution, responsible for the deaths of 500 000 persons per year in Europe, according to the World Health Organization. The objective: oblige the most polluting Member States to adopt some concrete measures under the threat of punishment. The European institution wants to be strongly authoritarian towards these countries, which, for many years, have continually exceeded the thresholds in fine particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Unfortunately “The 6 Member States in question did not present credible, effective and timely measures to reduce pollution, within the agreed limits and as soon as possible, as required under EU law” as explained in the press release published the 17th of May 2018.
No more last chance
Originally, the Commission had planed to take an ultimate decision for March. But due to a schedule problem, the Institution chosed to push it’s judgement until May, leaving a final chance for these states to remedy their situation. Once again, the action undertaken remains unambitious and involves practically no improvement. Kermenu Vella, Commissioner, claim’s “The decision to refer Member States to the Court of Justice of the EU has been taken on behalf of Europeans. We have said that this Commission is one that protects. Our decision follows through on that claim. The Member States referred to the Court today have received sufficient ‘last chances’ over the last decade to improve the situation. It is my conviction that today’s decision will lead to improvements for citizens on a much quicker timescale. But legal action alone will not solve the problem. That is why we are outlining the practical help that the Commission can provide to the national authorities’ efforts to promote cleaner air for European cities and towns.”