Health organisations call on EU environment ministers: swiftly adopt the Ambient Air Quality Directive deal

Brussels, 4 March 2024

Dear Environment Minister,

On February 20th, a provisional agreement was reached by Parliament and Council in trilogue on updating EU’s clean air standards (revised Ambient Air Quality Directive). Faced with a public health emergency from air pollution, this deal brings the EU one step closer to finally tackling it.

We, the undersigned organisations, representing the European health sector, including medical doctors, healthcare professionals, patient organisations and health insurance call on you to swiftly adopt this deal in Council, as a sign of your commitment to cleaning up the air that hundreds of millions of people across Europe breathe.

This trilogue deal is a much-awaited major step forward towards clean air in Europe: in particular, it includes updates on maximum levels for the major air pollutants, strengthened monitoring requirements, better information to people including vulnerable groups.

Air pollution weighs heavily on the health of people in the EU and the economy; 97% of the urban population breathes air which is considered unhealthy, resulting in hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and hundreds of billions of euros in health costs each year. Air pollution affects everyone and those most vulnerable disproportionally, such as those already ill, children, elderly, pregnant women, and those facing health inequalities.

We urge you to adopt the provisional agreement reached in trilogue to swiftly lessen people’s suffering, prevent disease and achieve economic savings.

Signed by:

  • Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director of Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
  • Dr Barbara Hoffmann, Chair Advocacy of Council European Respiratory Society (ERS)
  • Dr Christiaan Keijzer, President, Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME)
  • Susanna Palkonen, Director of European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA)
  • Dr Milka Sokolović, Director General of European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
  • Xavier Brenez, CEO of Mutualités Libres/Onafhankelijke Ziekenfondsen
  • Dr Hanna Boogaard, Co-chair of International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Europe (ISEE)
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