European elections – Your voice for Clean Air
If it was not for the election posters in the streets, nobody would realize that we are in the final stages of the European elections campaign. From 22 to 25 May citizens of the European Union decide who will make it to Brussels in the upcoming five years. For the first time, European parties nominated their candidates for the Commission presidency. Thus many people hoped for more momentum and interest in the elections. However, the European public still seems to notice very little. Most Europeans do not love the EU. People criticize that “Brussels” is too much pro-business, too bureaucratic and not socially conscious enough. The relation between national and European politics is not always communicated clearly and, therefore, not noticed. Real progress in European politics is rarely recognised although there are success stories, one of which is air quality policy.
One prominent example is the struggle against “acid rain”. The EU Commission was determined to reduce emissions in many sectors – successfully: Sulphur dioxide emissions, the most important precursor of acid rain, were reduced by more than 80 per cent in the past twenty years. And acid rain can now be considered a part of history. Also, particulate matter pollution could be reduced by 20 per cent between 2000 and 2010. These are two distinguished examples of successful EU air quality policy.
The EU Commission recognises that the reduction of air pollution is still not sufficient to be considered safe for human health. In 2010, about 420 000 Europeans died prematurely because of air pollution. The recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) are far below the current emission targets in the EU. Therefore it is crucial to be proactive in order to achieve implementation of current legislation, propose ambitious targets and advance towards a better health protection of European citizens.
Please vote and support progress in European air quality policy.