Five member states have received final warnings. Photo: © Prazis

23 countries are breaching air quality laws

Binding air quality standards are being flouted in more than 130 cities across 23 of the 28 EU member states, according to the European Commission’s Environmental Implementation Review.

Infringement proceedings for PM10 have been launched for a total of 16 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia. In 2015, cases against Bulgaria and Poland were brought to the European Court of Justice.

Over the last two years, the Commission launched legal action against 12 member states for failing to enforce the air quality standards for NO2, namely: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK.

On 15 February, the Commission sent final warnings (reasoned opinion) to the EU’s five largest countries – Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Italy – over “repeated, persistent breaches” of the NO2 limits.

Sources:, 7 February 2017; Commission press release, 6 February 2017: and 15 February 2017:



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