Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has scolded European countries
for their inaction on EU laws to combat air pollution, which causes an
estimated 420,000 premature deaths yearly in the Union.
“We have to recognise that some of the EU air quality standards that were established in the late nineties are not being respected.
“This has led to a situation where the majority of member states are infringing EU law on air quality. As a consequence, the health of many people is suffering, and costs to the health suppliers and the economy are rising”, he told the conference.
The European Environment Agency (EEA), an EU body, contends that shifting to electric vehicles and other anti-pollution measures could cut the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution to 230,000 by 2020.
Officials also called on the EU to crack down on diesel fuel.
"We will have to address the issue of the diesel car," Potočnik said. "Compliance is crucially dependent on reducing real world emissions from diesel cars."