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World

AFP
May 18, 2018

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EU takes Germany, five others to court over air pollution

BRUSSELS: The European Commission said Thursday it is taking Germany, France, the United Kingdom and three other EU countries to court for failing to comply with the bloc´s air quality standards.

The Commission, the European Union´s executive arm, gave the six, also including Italy, Hungary and Romania, a last chance in January to take the required steps to improve air quality after years of warnings.

However, EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella told a press conference in Brussels the six, which include Europe´s top four economies, had not acted quickly enough. "The commission had to conclude that ... that the additional measures proposed are not sufficient to comply with air quality standards as soon as possible, and therefore are being referred to court," Vella said. "We cannot wait any longer," Vella said, warning that Brussels may end up waiting several more years before the countries put measures in place.

Vella had also given Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia a last chance in January to start complying with EU standards and decided to give them a reprieve. "The measures that are planned or being put in place appear to be able to tackle (exceeded limits) if they are fully and immediately implemented," Vella said.

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