CLEAN AIR EVERYWHERE: Blowing the winds of change into European air policy

Blowing the winds of change into European air policy
Tuesday 8 January 2013
Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Union
Rue Montoyer 47, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

Almost a third of Europe's city-dwellers are exposed to polluted air. A new report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that many parts of Europe have persistent problems with outdoor concentrations of air pollutants. These pollutants cause nearly half a million premature deaths in the EU every year as well as significant health problems, which lead to increased hospital admissions, extra medication and millions of lost working days. In addition to the health burden, air pollution causes significant damage to ecosystems, agricultural crops, modern materials and our cultural heritage.

Last year, EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik announced that the revision of the
National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive would be postponed to 2013 which would be the EU’s Year of Air. In the meantime, all EU air legislation is being reviewed and subject to a public consultation, which is expected to lead to legislative proposals in 2013.

On Tuesday 8 January 2013, right at the start of the Year of Air, the European Environmental
Bureau (EEB), in conjunction with the ‘Soot Free for the Climate’ campaign, held a conference to discuss the future of EU air policies. The conference served as the launch event of the 2013 Year of Air.

We were delighted to host the award ceremony for European Environment Agency (EEA) photo story competition “ImaginAIR”. A video of the award ceremony are available here.

The agenda of the conference is available here.

The biographies of all speakers are available here.

Photos of the conference:

Europe by Satellite’s photos

EEB photos

Speeches and presentations:

Speech and Video of Commissioner Potočnik opening the 2013 Year of Air and presenting upcoming European Commission’s initiatives for improving air quality

Presentation by Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of the EEA, on air quality in Europe at the start of 2013

Presentation by Christer Ågren, Director of the Air Pollution and Climate Secretariat, on what remains to be done in Europe and the benefits of taking action

Presentation by Francesca Racioppi from the World Health Organization (WHO) about air pollution and health impacts

Speech and video of Irish Minister Phil Hogan concerning air quality and the Irish Presidency

Video of Commissioner Hedegaard speaking about the need to integrate air and climate policies

Video of Swedish Minister Lena Ek speaking about priority actions and win-win solutions for air and the climate

Presentation by Mark Lawrence (IASS Potsdam) concerning short lived climate forcing pollutants

Video of the EEA Award Ceremony with Commissioner Potočnik, Jacqueline McGlade (EEA), Jeremy Wates (EEB) and the winners of the Imagin’AIR Photo Story Competition

Conference Report

For more information, please contact Louise Duprez, Policy Officer for Air, Industrial Emissions and Noise,

Photo credit: Chris Dodson on