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09 November 2011
Review of the European Union Air Policy

The European Commission is moving forward with the planned revision of the air policy. The public consultation launched in June 2011 on the air quality policy has just closed. Divided into two parts – a short questionnaire for the general public and a longer section for experts and practitioners – the questionnaire aims at harvesting input on how best to improve European air quality policy. The Commission aims at having a comprehensive review of EU's air policy by 2013 at the latest.


The objective formulated in the 2010 Sixth Environmental Action Programme encourages states "to achieve levels of air quality that do not result in unacceptable impacts on, and risks to, human health and the environment.”.

On 18 January 2011, the Commission discussed the progress on the EU's air policy with particular emphasis on the National Emission Ceilings Directive. In this debate the Commission recognized a dire need for action and agreed on measures to improve air quality through international cooperation.

Measures scheduled for 2011 included:

  • Revision of the sulphur content of bunker fuels;
  • Review and further reduction of emissions from vehicles and machinery;
  • Actively participating in the international negotiations on air quality, in particular the review of the UNECE Gothenburg Protocol.

The Commission launched a broad consultation process with the organisation of the first Stakeholder Expert Group on 6/7 June 2011. Presentations and documents from the meetings of the Stakeholder Expert Group are publically available through a dedicated CIRCA library. The library contains additional information relevant to wider air policy review and process.