EU Clean Air Forum meets in Spain to discuss solutions to improve air quality across Europe

Today and tomorrow, decisionmakers, stakeholders and experts from across the European Union will gather at the third EU Clean Air Forumorganised by the European Commission and Spain to discuss further improvements in air quality. According to the latest findings of the European Environment Agency published this week, more than 360,000 people died prematurely due to exposure to various sources of air pollution in the EU in 2019. This marks a decrease since the year 2005, and shows that clean air policies can deliver successes. Nevertheless, more than half of these deaths could have been avoided if EU Member States had reached the WHO’s new air quality guideline level of 5 µg/m3. Opening the Forum Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President responsible for the European Green Deal, said: “Air pollution is still the first environmental cause of premature death in Europe and in the world. It leaves the most vulnerable, those who cannot move away when air pollution spikes, in particularly high risk. The good news is that in most cases, climate action also helps to reduce air pollution. Vice versa, acting for clean air will help to speed up climate action.” Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, participating in the Forum said: “Over the past decades, EU Clean Air Policy has achieved some successes, but we need to do more to reach our zero-pollution ambition and provide EU citizens with clean air. The third EU Clean Air Forum offers an opportunity to discuss what and how with policymakers at the national, local and international level, as well as leading scientists in the field”. The outcome of the discussions at the Forum will inform the on-going revision of EU rules on ambient air quality to align them more closely with the recommendations of the World Health Organization. In addition, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission published an updated version of the ‘Urban PM2.5 Atlas‘, which provides information on the origins of air pollution – the fine particulate matter – in 150 European cities. The Atlas can help authorities understand where to focus efforts to improve air quality. More information is in the news item.