Gist of the opinion
- The Committee stresses the need to ensure a healthy environment and excellent air quality as basic components of living and working conditions in order to safeguard the well-being of Europeans, and regrets that such an important factor is no longer as high up on the agenda of EU and national political priorities as it needs to be.
- It calls on the new Parliament, the new Commission and the Council to ensure that the EU institutions make air quality a top priority and it welcomes the Commission's initiative to establish a new Clean Air Programme. The Committee supports the Commission's final objective to establish the emissions threshold for 2030 at a 70% "gap closure" between the current legislation baseline and the maximum feasible emission reductions (MTFR).
In order to achieve this objective, which must be enforced and implemented by all the parties involved, the EESC believes that firm action is required.
- The Committee emphasises the need for regional policies to include measures to maintain healthy air quality levels since it is convinced that due to the high level of accumulated pollution and regional meteorological conditions, air quality management will only work if it is supported by EU policies to reduce emissions.
- Initiatives must be held to involve professional organisations, organised civil society, NGOs, the third sector, information centres, at all levels, and research centres, in order to achieve the objective of continuous air quality improvements, which is vital to public welfare and the ecosystem.